It was a typical Sunday morning much like any other; the day was cool but sunny. On the roof, top deck was a shaded table set for two and sitting in one of the chairs was a blonde with curly hair and brown eyes with some toast in her hand and the folded newspaper in the other, reading the personal ads.
"Oh, this is good, just my type," Kelly laughed as she took a sip from her cup of steaming mint tea, which her best friend loved so much and who thought was very invigorating.
"What?" asked the 5'4" strawberry blonde with short blonde hair. She came from the kitchen carrying a tray with omelets and fresh fruit. She set it on the table then leaned against her friends back and rested against her shoulder with her face next to hers.
"Oh? Personal ads Kelly? Are you by chance bored or something?" She read one aloud.
Rugged outdoorsy-type seeks companion for hiking, kayaking and possibly more.
She straightened up and sat in her chair. Kelly stared at her intently a little miffed by her friends' apparent disdain in regards to the personal ads. Even though it might be true that it could be a double-edged sword or something worse, and even then, it didn't mean that you should make any less of or belittle the ones who did. She'd heard the stories from people who had found if not the love of their lives then at least good friends to go out with and have a good time.
Lilith continued eating her fruit and omelet without paying attention to the look that her friend was sending her way. "I've always thought that it's stupid that anyone could get to know anyone else through personal ads, I mean, for Pete's sake Kelly. You need personal interaction, the first meeting is primary to establish the connection, and you can't do that with an ad!
Kelly just stared at her for several moments with that same expression making Lilith feel uncomfortable, she was about to say something when Kelly interrupted.
"You'd be surprised at all the things you can learn from a person by the way they write just a few lines Lil." She said with a certain tone of voice that made Lilith's eyes narrow in doubt.
"And have you met 'Miss Perfect'
in one of those? I seriously doubt it because you're still single, just like me Kel; anyway, you're only interested in sitting behind that little monitor of yours.
Kelly wasn't sure just what bothered her most from her friend the self-righteous tone or the condescending one. An idea began to form in her head and with an evil smile, which she managed to hide before her friend suspected anything and stared at her.
"Well sure anyone can do it of course, but they're probably a bunch of weirdo's or something even worse, but ok, besides even if you did it, which I doubt because then if you did you would probably chicken out and leave them all dressed up with nowhere to go?" She paused as if to take a drink from her cup while she glanced over the edge to see Lil was turning slightly red.
"I do not?" Lil began, but was interrupted by Kelly
"My theory is that like a photo is worth a thousand words, the words also create images, and don't tell me they don't. You should know that after all you're the expert on the written word, isn't that right?"
"I'm not going to deny that and yes there is certain logic to your words, but?" Lil didn't see any point in continuing to discuss the issue; it just wasn't a subject that she was interested in.
"Although, Hahahahaha. Oh No!" Kelly sarcastically exclaimed. "No, no, no, hahahahaha, never in your life Lilith, nope. Definitely not that particular one. I mean it would be like oil and water, worse like calling Santa a Muslim, no, no, no."
"What the devil are you talking about?" Lilith stared at her not knowing what the hell she was laughing at, but she was certain about something, it was about her, not with her.
Kelly couldn't speak and continued to laugh so hysterically that she fell from her chair and even then continued laughing harder. For several moments, Kelly lay on the floor cackling until Lil threw a glass of water on her in frustration.
"Heeey, that's cold Lil, why'd you do that!!!!" She indignantly exclaimed from the floor.
"Well it looked like you needed it." She said petulantly. "Can you please explain to me why in the hell you were dying of laughter?"
"It's just that," she continued hiccupping, and took a couple of deep breaths before speaking, "I remembered the personal ad you read aloud and well Lil, you are a lot of things, but not a backpacker, never in all the nevers could I ever imagine you doing something like that! It's very unlikely; it's like expecting water in the middle of Goby Desert! And I think it's funny because it's the first one you read." She said as she got back in her chair.
"And just what does having read that ad have anything to do with what you were telling me Kelly? Just because I happened to glance at it and happened to read the first one that caught my eye does not mean that it interests me in the least."
"Hahahahaha, truly it would be completely ridiculous, because seriously you aren't any of those things! Hahaha, nope, not even in your dreams." She shook her head several times to reaffirm her opinion on the subject and reclined against the chair trying not to laugh since her stomach was already hurting from the last time.
Lil gave her a killer look, did not say anything, clinched her jaw and began to pick up the breakfast dishes and put them on the tray, shaking her head, Kelly picked up a small napkin to try to dry herself.
"You don't have to get mad about it Lil." She said in a conciliatory tone. "I wasn't trying to hurt your feelings, it's just that it's true, you're a librarian who likes to spend her free time with her nose in a book and the most exotic thing you have ever done is ride your bike from home to work when most people would rather drive a car."
Lilith continued in silence, she finished picking up the breakfast dishes and carried the tray downstairs to her apartment. Kelly followed carrying a couple of other things in her hand.
In the kitchen Lilith put the dirty plates in the sink, put away some things in the frig and began to fill the sink with soap and water, she put on some rubber gloves and without a word Kelly stood by her side so that she could dry as her friend washed. There weren't many so in less than 10 minutes everything was washed, dried and in its place. It was then that Lilith turned to look at her friend Kelly directly in the eyes and in a frozen tone declared?
"Just because I'm a librarian and book lover, does not mean that I am incapable of enjoying such activities, it's only that the opportunity hasn't presented itself. You aren't exactly Ms. Davey Crockett and none of my other friends are either, therefore, we don't know if I would or would not be capable."
"Lil if you liked doing said activities, even though none of your close friends did, you would still do it for yourself without waiting for anyone else to do it. Take me for example, I like to play pool and I have friends with whom I play when I go out occasionally and I do it because I like it. If I had to wait for you to go with me I'd get old waiting for you." She said logically.
"Are you saying that I wouldn't be able to enjoy myself or even do any of those outdoor activities and not only that but that I'd be incapable of seeing it through?" She asked with a narrowed malevolent look.
"Well yes to be honest with you. I don't think you'll like it and even less that you could do it. I mean, let's be honest Lil, you aren't the type of woman that likes physical activity, and that requires a lot of physical activity and stamina. Things that you are not accustomed to doing. For Pete's sake Lil, if you even see a spider you scream hysterically." She pronounced. Besides you're a bit clumsy
she thought to herself but I'm not crazy enough to say it aloud, she had already pushed her sufficiently and anymore, and her friend would kick her out of the place and not only that, she probably wouldn't talk to her for over a month. If Lil was anything, she was stubborn and if she decided to punish her with the whip of contempt
even if she were dying with need to talk with her she wouldn't do it even if it meant having Kelly over for a home cooked meal, well not quite but?
"Very well, I'm going to show you that not only am I capable of doing those "activities" as you call them, but also enjoy doing them!" With a decided step, she moved passed her friend taking the newspaper that was on top of the table and going directly to her computer so that she could respond to the personal ad for Packing Mate
Kelly stared at her with a look between shock and incredulity, she had been planning to bug her friend, but she never imagined that her friend would take it so seriously that she would answer the ad
While she waited for her pc to boot up, Lilith reread the ad, she had never backed down from a dare and this was exactly what Kelly was doing, daring her to do something that she thought she was incapable of. You'll see Kelly O'Conner. I'm going to show you how wrong you are.
Once the pc was initiated and she was connected to the internet, she opened up her email program and began to write.
I am a Librarian in St. Paul, when I read your ad a friend of mine laughed at me, saying that I would never in my life be able to do any such thing. That since I'm a library mouse in the purist sense of the word I wouldn't have anything in common with someone like you. But you know what? I'm convinced that's not true. I would like to meet you and learn to do some of the lovely things that you do. Someone that likes the outdoors must be very nice and fun. I also like to see the birds and take walks in the park.
Could I meet you?
She read it a couple of times just ignoring her friend who once she read what she had written released a breath that clearly was an attempt to keep from laughing. Satisfied she hit the send button. She confirmed the delivery and smiled to herself, convinced that she would receive a nice response.
"Done." She turned towards Kelly who was still trying not to laugh at her friend's attempt at writing to the backpacker whose nick was RunRivvergrrl
she could just imagine the woman's face when she read it. Oh well they just would have to wait and see.
"Yes I can see that. So what do you want to do today?" She asked changing the topic. "Its past ll a.m., whataya say we go to the flea market, I'm sure we'll find something interesting. It's been ages since we've gone to look around. The last time we went, you found those scrolls to write in.
"Oh!" Lil's eyes brightened at the thought of those scrolls. They weren't exactly old per se, it was most likely they had been made to look that way, but they smelled and looked as if they had been created in the middle ages or even before. Just the thought of them made her feel something, almost as if at some time in another life she would have written in those scrolls. "Absolutely, perhaps I'll find an old diary or something like that, mine is almost full.
"Great, let's go then." She jumped of the sofa where she had been sitting while she watched Lil write the email.
"Let me just get a jacket and I'll be ready." Lil was nearly always cold, so she usually took a light jacket with her even during the summer because of either the breeze or the A/C that was always on at work. They took the elevator and were soon on the street, in front, Lil immediately saw her friends SUV.
Kelly had parked the gray RAV 4 in the space designated for her car, which was hers if she had one, which wasn't the case, but she liked having it assigned to her anyway. Kelly spent more time at her place, that she practically lived there with her, 'practically' was the operative word. Kelly loved her independence but hated cooking so she would eat dinner at her place almost every evening. They would shop together for that very reason. Kelly only had the basics in her apartment such as coffee, cereal, milk, beer, etc. and during the winter, it was Kelly who took her and picked her up from work. It could be said that they were practically sisters; they had known each other since they were both in diapers. Both only children, they become inseparable friends as if it was the most natural thing in the world given that they lived on the same street, went to the same schools since kindergarten all the way through college. Definitely if Kelly hadn't been part of her life, she wasn't sure how'd she live given her tendency to get lost in her books, certainly she'd be lonelier.
They had a good time at the flea market. Lil loved to go, she always found something that even though she didn't buy she usually liked. She liked to look around at the things they had to offer and on occasion, she would find little things like paperweights or book bags, two things she liked to collect. There was also a small shop where they sold used and antique books. The owner was an agreeable older man by the name of Mr. Mills. He knew her, knew of her secret passion for old diaries, and always put them away when he got a hold of them, preferably unused.
Kelly was at her side looking about curiously as well, she was looking for something different; she had a passion for video games. Moreover, for what seemed forever she had been collecting consoles like Atari and Nintendo and whenever she found a game would buy it. Lil only rolled her eyes on the occasion she would find one, jumping up and down in joy like some small child when they discovered something new.
Later in the afternoon when they stopped for a late lunch in a small Italian restaurant, they both decided to do the shopping for the week. After a couple of hours in the super market, where Kelly was the designated cart pusher, they returned to Lil's where they put everything away and prepared something light for dinner. Once they were done, they got comfortable on the sofa and watched an old black and white movie, which they loved to do. It was well past 10 p.m. when Kelly decided it was time to go.
"Aren't you going to check your email inbox before you go to bed?" She asked as she stood to leave. Truthfully, she was dying of curiosity to see if RunRivergrrrl had answered her friend.
"Well I checked my inbox this morning, but since it's obvious that you're dying of curiosity to see if RunRivergrrrl
answered, I'll check again." She answered smiling at the barely contained curiosity from her friend.
"What? Don't tell me you're not curious?" She asked a bit surprised. She knew that if anyone always had a need to know it was Lil.
"Well yes I have to admit, but I'm not dying to know." She outright lied. Truthfully, she wanted to know just as much, but she also wanted to tease Kelly. Therefore, with deliberate slowness she stood and headed for the computer.
"Oh come on already." Kelly said impatiently.
"Have you thought any about the fact that if she likes to go hiking and all that, that she might like to spend her weekends out? She probably hasn't even checked her email." She said.
"It's possible, but it can't hurt for you to check just in case." Kelly insisted.
Finally, the computer booted up. Once Lil was settled, she opened her inbox and just as she had suspected there were no new messages. At least none from RunRivergrrrl.
She turned towards Kelly with an 'I told you so,' smile. Kelly just stuck her tongue out in response.
"Well, I'm going home, we'll see you tomorrow Lil, sleep tight." Kelly gave her a quick hug goodbye.
"See you tomorrow Kel."
Lilith walked her to the door so she could lock it, returned to her computer, opened up an email from her boss who was letting her know there was a new consignment of books that needed to be logged in and coded for next week. Fantastic, new books
she thought happily. Lil loved to code the new books in the consignments. Alter sending off a response to her boss she shut down her PC and headed to her bedroom to get ready for bed. Just before falling asleep, her last thought was to wonder if RunRivergrrrl
would respond the next day.
On the other side of the Twin-Cities, it so happened that Jules St. Claire was just getting home extremely tired from the weekend camping trip at 'Effigy Mounds' National Monument in Iowa. She'd had the bad luck of finding herself stuck behind an accident on I35 for 3 hours, which turned a 4-hour trip into seven. She finally arrived at home at 11 p.m., and fortunately, for her, Alex was opening the center that morning, so she'd be able to sleep in before her Monday classes.
She left her equipment and backpack against the wall and headed directly to the computer. She was waiting for a message from her twin who lived in NYC. As she waited for the PC to boot up she went to the kitchen for a bottle of water. She was thirsty and once she'd checked to see if her twin had left her a message she'd head straight for bed, but not before a long hot shower. The hot water would relax her muscles that had tensed up during the drive home and left her exhausted.
When she returned, without sitting down, she adjusted the screen on her HP Pavilion so she could read better; she hit the mail icon and saw she had 35 new messages. Intrigued she opened the inbox but didn't recognize any of the senders. She opened one and began to read.
"Personal Ad? Newspaper? Companion? WHAT THE HELL!! She went out to look for the paper that was sitting on the foyer table and flipped through the sections until she found the personal ads. There in a small square was the ad the sender was talking about. With her mouth open and mad as hell she crumpled up the newspaper and returned to the computer. Almost all of the emails said the same thing in the subject, 'Your Ad, I want to be your companion, Explore the outdoors and things of that nature.'
"Alex I am going to kill you!" She swore under her breath, she was sure her friends were the ones who had orchestrated the whole thing. Sam and Alex were set on getting her a girlfriend any way they could. She shook her head in anger. Tomorrow she would read the rest and as soon as she caught up to Alex she would hang her! Sam and her.
She looked for her sister's message amongst the others and after reading it, she smiled, she had told her that she would love to visit the next available weekend that she had open and that she would let her know as soon as she could.
She shut off the PC and after turning off the lights she headed for her bedroom where once she was undressed she hit the shower. Tomorrow would be another day and she was planning to have a good time making her two personal clowns sweat. Meaning her best friends and partners in the JAS Outfitness Center.
However, for the moment all she wanted to do was rest. She had decided it would be a good idea to practice her kayaking with some hiking Sunday morning before heading back to Minneapolis, conveniently forgetting that it had only been a month prior to that she had recovered from a dislocated shoulder. Oh yeah it had been a grand experience. Besides, she had been able to try out her new camera taking pictures that she would display in her new photo album. Soon she was in bed, knocking out almost instantly.
The next day she woke up well past 9 a.m. with just barely enough time to get a coffee and get ready for work. She had a Wall Climbing session at 11 a.m.
When she got to JAS, Sam's Jeep and Alex's Forrester were already there, with a malicious smile she imagined just how she would get even with her friends.
As soon as she walked in Alex looked up from the reception desk and swallowed. Jules looked like the cat that had just swallowed the canary. Oh, oh she saw the messages,
Alex thought and turned to try to look for Sam, who happened to be busy setting up the equipment for the Wall Climbing session that Jules would begin in an hour.
"Hiya Alex, how's it going?" Jules said in a tight voice but loud enough so that Sam would be able to hear her. Her attempt paid off in dividends when her friend raised her eyes and saw her. Oh yes girls, paybacks are a bitch,
she smiled charmingly.
"Hey Jules how was your trip? Did you take a lot of pictures? It rained a bit on Saturday." Alex a tall woman with a muscular athletic body but not exaggeratedly so, with light brown hair and brown eyes had a tendency to talk too much when she was nervous. In addition, one wouldn't believe how a woman with her complexion could get so white upon seeing her friend come through the door.
"Yes but it was fine, you know I love the smell of wet earth! I got back late last night, but I had some time to do a few things before going to bed." She said as if nothing was up.
"Oh yeah?" Sam asked, she was a woman with dark brown hair and dark eyes and with a body just as athletic as Alex or Jules but her musculature was much softer. She moved closer and exchanged looks with Alex.
"Yep, I found a surprise in my inbox. Apparently I'm very popular, you two wouldn't know the reason for that would you?" She glared at both of them, daring them to deny their involvement in the personal ad.
Alex as well as Sam knew it would be useless to deny their part in the situation. Alex moved a hand to her neck, another nervous gesture.
"Well, you see, it's just that we thought it would be fun, you see like a form of publicity, you know?
"That is the most pathetic excuse that I've ever heard to justify your clear intent to sound totally innocent with me!" Jules exclaimed barely holding in her anger. "When are you going to understand that I'm fine the way I am!
"Jules, it's not that?" Sam tried to intervene but a deadly look from Jules shut her up.
"Girls you are my best friends and you know that I care about you a lot, but for Christ's sake! My personal email account is full of messages from God knows who probably a bunch of crazy people trying to meet me au natural! What in the world, were you thinking when you did that? At least you could have created an alternate email account or something and not used my personal account!" She declared airily.
Alex and Sam turned to look at each other with looks of "Oh, oh" on both their faces, which made it obvious that neither one had thought of it, but what was done was done, and now they'd have to face the consequences of their so called innocent ad. The truth was that they wanted to encourage Jules to come of herself imposed solitude. It had been more than three years that she had been with anyone much less a date. They knew that Mika's infidelity had not only hurt her but also left her cynical as well towards any type of relationship. The only relationships she had at all and permitted herself were with them, who had known her since their university days when the three were part of the Baylor University Cross Country Team, and with her twin who she loved dearly for the obvious reasons.
"I see that my brilliant JAS associates forgot that simple little detail didn't they?" She looked at them both with a malicious gleam in her eye, Oh yes. Jace we will be seeing each other this weekend.
"My friends, this weekend I'm going to NYC. Jace has invited me and I don't want to let her down." She winked and with a happy stride headed to her office.
"But?but, hey it's not fair!!!!" Blubbered Alex all hot and bothered, that weekend was Jules turn to take care of the Center.
"You and your big idea!!" Sam hit Alex on the shoulder.
"Ouch!" She stared at her painfully.
"You see what a mess you've gotten us into?" I had a date this weekend with the delicious Janine." She glared back in frustration.
"Well you could always bring her back here for the night, we close at 11 p.m., you know for some classes." She wiggled her brows gleefully.
"For being a Business Administrator you sure have a mean streak Alex. Sam complemented her but to herself she thought that Janine wasn't exactly the athletic type. At least not in that way. She had a body many would die for but it wasn't due to her strict exercise regimen, but due to starvation.
"Hahahaha, thanks I think." She stood wondering, what are we going to do now?
It was pretty obvious that Jules was not interested in romance and she wasn't planning on answering the emails that she had received, so they had to think of another plan. Alex did not notice that she was being observed from the office and obviously forgot that Jules knew her very well and that lost look Alex had only meant one thing, PROBLEMS
. Unfortunately for her friend the one who usually wound up with them was herself since Jules always caught her before she could get away with it.
The day went by without much happening, at 11:30 p.m. she was just getting home, she wasn't tired. It was rare that she felt that way what with being in such great physical shape and the fact that she adored her job made it seem not like a job but something pleasurable. She had picked up a Pizza on the way home, her culinary abilities were limited, she was an expert in the art of survival in nature, but cooking was not exactly one of her fortes. Fortunately, her twin adored the kitchen and if they ate well during their years at BU, it was because of her.
She had showered before leaving JAS so she had left her backpack on the foyer table, with pizza in hand she headed directly to the couch and turned on the laptop that had a wireless connection to her PC on her desk. While it booted up she went to the kitchen for a plate, napkins and a bottle of beer.
She began to read her email. Truthfully, she was curious to see who had responded to the personal ad that her friends had had the nerve to publish in her name. Today she had another five responses.
"Let's see what we have here." She said to herself.
She opened each one. Some were just simply enough to make you die of laughter. Others were interesting, but not sufficiently to get her to respond to them. Even so, she responded nicely to them by inviting them to JAS to try out the facility without letting them know she was one of the owners that spent most of her time there, and reminding them to let reception know they were there by RunRivergrrl's
invitation. Surely, she would see some of them, seeing as she was usually there during the evenings.
She opened the next one just as she was taking a bite from her slice and as she read what it said she nearly choked, surprised at what it said. She coughed several times, she took a drink of her beer and reread the message a couple of times just to be sure that what she had read was right.
"This one sure is a head case, even her nick is corny." She shook her head and decided to answer.
Hi Little Dreamer,
Thanks for your message and that you praise my love of nature. I definitely love to be in direct contact with it, but nevertheless it's the outdoor activities that I speak of that require an experienced person or at least to have certain abilities to be able to handle the rigors and dangers that you may encounter when doing them. They are not a game and it is much better to have plenty of experience before trying to attempt them as a hobby. Once again, thank you for your words, but without trying to offend you, I think your friend might be right. You require experience to do what I do and you don't have that at all. Thanks for your interest.
She finished reading the messages, erased most of them, leaving only the business or personal contacts. Before shutting down, she wrote her sister to let her know that she would be visiting over the weekend and that she would let her know what time she'd be arriving on Friday.
She turned off the lights and went to bed; the next day was her turn to open at JAS.
"Are you sure you want to have lasagna for dinner Kelly?" Lil asked from the kitchen, her friend was in the living room turning on the TV, her favorite show was on that day and every Tuesday Kelly religiously wanted lasagna for dinner during the program.
"Every Tuesday you ask me the same question Lil." Kelly responded. "And the answer is always the same! YES!"
"Ok," she finished preparing it, not that she didn't have it ready, after all she almost always was at home before her friend but this was Kelly's obsession. The meal depended on what she was eating on the first day of a new series and if she liked it that would mean that would be the designated meal for the evening of the program. It was pretty much a superstition for Kelly; as if she changed her designated meal, she would start disliking the series. Her friend definitely had her eccentricities, but who didn't, right?
Ten minutes later the lasagna was ready and Lil let Kelly know, who then ran to get it during a commercial break. Lil wasn't too interested in watching TV, so while her friend got lost in her weekly program she decided to check her email. The day before she had gotten home late from the library and was too tired to do it. She wondered if RunRivergrrrl
had answered her.
As soon as her email program announced she had five new messages, a quick look at the screen and her eyes lit up at seeing a response from RunRivergrrrl
. Excitedly she clicked the message while she called Kelly over.
Hey Kel, I got an answer from the chick!"
"What?" Kelly quickly turned to listen to what Lil was saying. "Really, that's great, read it aloud." Kelly took advantage of the commercial to hit the mute button.
em>Hi Little Dreamer,
Thanks for your message and that you praise my love of nature?
Lil's voice that had started reading excitedly started breaking up mid message, she felt the tears form in her eyes, but she forced herself to contain them. She finished reading the email on pure self-will and suddenly felt Kelly's arms around her.
"What an arrogant witch. I know what I told you Lil, but that doesn't mean that it was true. Forget about it, as you can see you were right, just a bunch of crazies and weirdo's that write those ads. It's not worth it to get upset about it." Kelly said in a conciliatory tone. The truth was that even she was surprised at the cold and humiliating response from RunRivergrrrl
to her friend.
Lil agreed with a small shake of her head and hit the delete button. Kelly gave her shoulder a squeeze and returned to her program. She knew Lil well enough to know she wanted to be left alone for a bit to regain her composure.
As soon as the show was over Kelly announced she had to leave, but before leaving, she assured herself that Lil was in a better mood. Her friend smiled and told her that she was over it after all it was only an impression but she was fine now.
Kelly didn't believe her but she accepted her friends word, she gave her a tight hug and left. She regretted having pushed Lil into responding to the ad, her friend was the sweetest, kindest and most innocent person she had ever known. She always believed that everyone was good and if they acted in one way or another, it was because something bad had happened to them or simply because they didn't know any better. She couldn't really say she was naive, just innocent. Her world was books and not the real world.
Once she was alone Lilith returned to her computer and stared at the screen for several minutes. She took a deep breath and once again opened up her email program and retrieved the message from her deleted folder and hit the reply button and with a tear running down her cheek began to type furiously.
Forgive me for bothering you again, especially after you made it perfectly clear that you are not interested in the least in getting to know me because of my inexperience. I must say that you hurt my feelings with your words; you made me feel like a piece of junk not worth anything. Forgive me for saying so but I've always believed that words are the best way to communicate with someone. And I must say even if you do read it you will probably erase this message and will never dedicate a single second to think about it again.
You know what? Even though I don't have any experience now, it doesn't mean that I would never have it. That right now I can't tell a paddle from a mop handle is not indicative that that would always be the case. I'm not an idiot, even though that's how you made me feel. It was humiliating. I know I don't have anything to prove to you or anyone else, but I want to prove it to myself. That I am not what you or my friend thinks I am. The fact that I love books is only a part of who I am. I am so much more than that and it is you who is losing out. Frankly, I have no interest in meeting someone so arrogant, self centered and hateful as you. I hope you don't treat nature as you treated me, you should show a little respect for others feelings, especially if you don't know them. The earth needs to be respected! Moreover, you apparently don't know the significance of the word because with people like you on this planet it will be lost.
Lil read it a couple more times, made some corrections and hit sent with a smile of satisfaction.
"Eat that RunRivergrrrl
Once the message was sent Lil opened her browser and began searching for kayaking classes in her area. Since the moment that she had read the woman's response and heard Kelly's condescending tone, she had decided to learn how to do it. Ando f course she'd do it even if it meant dying in the attempt. Ok, dying was a bit drastic, but surely it would result in a few bumps and bruises at the least.
After looking over various places, she found one that caught her interest. It was in Minneapolis and she'd have to borrow the SUV from Kelly but she thought it was worth it. Fortunately, her friend hibernated on Saturdays due to her regular Friday night outings that would leave her practically comatose usually until late afternoon. She could count on her being at her place on Sundays for breakfast unless she was spending the night, and only when Kelly had a girlfriend did she limit her visits to three or four times a week, but she hadn't seen anyone seriously in over four months, not since breaking up with Tracy.
She had really hurt her and for the moment, she was in the middle of herself re-construction as she called it. Her friend was extroverted and friendly; she loved to flirt but ironically didn't like to sleep around with half the known world. She was selective and one of her conditions but not explicit was that they wouldn't make a big deal because of her friendship with Lil, who was like a sister to her. However, some just didn't see it that way and Tracy had been one of those.
Satisfied with her search and having decided to make an appointment to take the kayaking course Lil shut down the PC and went to bed.
The following day during lunch Lilith called JAS and signed up for a course on kayaking. JAS had caught her attention because they offered individual classes all year round and offered group classes during the summer. After having spoken with a very pleasant sounding young woman by the name of Sam, Lilith signed up to begin the following Saturday for a two month course with classes every Saturday with the option to switch to Sundays if necessary. This included outings to locations with a Category I & II in the company of the instructor.
She wouldn't mention her plans to Kelly; if she did, it would be perhaps after about a month or so of classes. She was sure that the first class would be hard, it was true that she was not used to doing anything physical. At least not that type of exercise, but thanks to the fact that she went to work on her bike everyday and carried stacks of books she was in fairly good form. Nevertheless, that certainly was not the same thing.
She would ask her instructor what would be the best exercise routine to follow to strengthen her back and arm muscles', after all kayaking was basically rowing, so she had to take that into consideration. With that resolved she returned to work, she had an idea in mind and as with everything else, once she made up her mind to do something she would do it and do it well.
That same day she looked in the libraries database for some books on the subject of kayaking and hiking. She found various from which she chose three to start with. All three were similar in content, but it was important to have various perspectives. So armed with the three books in her book bag, she headed home happy with her new endeavor.
Once at home she changed into something more comfortable and began to prepare dinner, Kelly wouldn't be long and she'd probably be starving as usual. She usually didn't eat a lot during the day always saving herself for the big meal Lil would have ready for her.
Once she was done and only awaited Kelly to arrive Lil took out one of the three books from her bag that she had checked out of the library so that she could start looking through it. She had checked out The Essential Whitewater Kayaking: A Complete Course.
She opened the book and started reading with great interest, and a good think it had a glossary because it had many technical terms that she did not know. Suddenly she heard the door open and hurriedly hid the book but not before making sure, she had put a bookmark in place.
She stood up to greet Kelly who came running in. "Bathroom" she said breathlessly and headed directly to the said room, Lil just laughed and yelled. "Dinner will be ready in 10 minutes Kel!"
Once in the kitchen she served the plates and set them on two trays so they could eat in front of the sofa. Kelly didn't take long in meeting her in the living room and sat across from her.
"So how was your day?" Lil asked.
Oh the usual, you know it's always some crisis or other on the internet. A webpage that might be acting up or recreating a page, the truth is that it won't be until August that we will start with the design for the new year. How about you? You said you had gotten a new book consignment right.
"Yep." Lil's eyes lit up on just the mention of the topic. "I'm almost done coding them and should be ready to put them into the database. The next step is to put them on the shelves.
"Good for you. Hmm?" Kelly took a couple of bites before daring to say anything. The truth was she was expecting to find a depressed Lil. Those words from that broad from the Ad had been rude and Lil was not a person to take such that kind of thing lightly. Although, this didn't seem to be the case and her friend seemed to be her normal candid and cheery self. "Hmm, are you feeling ok? I...well I wanted to say I'm sorry for having pushed you into answering that ad.
Lil stared at her attentively as if considering what to do, she could make her suffer a bit, and it was true that if she hadn't dared her, Lil would never have bothered in answering the ad or even given it another thought so she decided that she should make her suffer a little bit. "Hmm, Kelly don't worry about ok? It wasn't as if I was waiting with my heart in my hand for her answer. It's true that she was rude and obnoxious but forget it ok? It's not as if she's the love of my life, I don't have the slightest idea who she is and frankly, I don't want to know her. I bet she's a big butch with as much testosterone as a football player, so it's not important. Although?" She paused for dramatic effect and noticed that Kelly was squirming around in her seat. "As penance for the affront suffered by my person. I'm going to ask you to lend me your car every Saturday for two months.
"Of course, whatever?" She paused a moment when she finally focused on what the penance was. "WHAT! For two months? What are you planning on doing? I'm not saying no, but it isn't?" she narrowed her eyes suspiciously, "just what are you planning on doing Saturdays for two months Lil?"
"The Minnesota Mobile Library, I volunteered my services, and well since on Saturdays you don't use the car for obvious reasons that I won't mention. And given that you want forgiveness from moi." She said quickly at the same time wiggling her brows. If Kelly noticed anything odd, she didn't say anything or she didn't take notice.
"Oh, ok no prob then, just wondering what you were up to, you aren't the type to go out much in a vehicle even though I know you know how to drive very well and you're very cautious but it made me curious." She continued eating and perhaps that's why she didn't notice her friend's slight flush. She hated to lie to Kelly but the truth was that she didn't want to tell her anything, not until she felt comfortable enough to tell her what she had done!
"You don't have to worry about your Silver Bullet
it will be safe with me." She teased her enjoying the look of disgust from her friend. Kelly hated when people gave names to inanimate objects but Lil had the tendency to do that and not even her own things weren't safe. At least she would give them decent names closed to what they resembled, she sighed to herself.
Kelly didn't stay very long after dinner and having exchanged news of their day and other things in general that happened to go through their heads they said their goodbyes. As soon as the goodbyes were exchanged, Lil got down to reading the new book that she had hidden under the sofa cushion.
If anyone had observed her reading, they would have burst out laughing either because they thought it was funny or because of Lilith's youthful enthusiasm and that is she was only reading. She moved her hands around in a rowing motion and shifting around as if balancing according to the books instructions.
Lil had a huge imagination born from her passion for reading; anyone would wonder why she wasn't working as an editor in some publishing company or at least as a book critic, seeing how passionate she was about literature. But in reality what she loved most about books was to be able to treasure them, take care of them and be able to inspire others with her recommendations or to guide them along in that wonderful world of literature. Lil had a sweet and loving spirit, therefore, confrontations or the world of cats and dogs that was the real world was not something that attracted her. Moreover, hurting someone's feelings was unthinkable and if she had been an editor or book critic she'd definitely have to do that and she wasn't willing to do it.
She was really very excited about the book and it was well past 10 p.m. her normal bedtime when she finally headed for bed very excited that in a couple of days she'd be having her first class in kayaking. She'd have to call and find out what she should wear and what equipment she might have to take for her classes.
Seeing as Jules was going to be gone over the weekend just like the previous one, she decided not to be too hard on her friends and offered to close and open every day during the week except on Friday when she'd be catching an afternoon flight to NYC to meet with her twin for the weekend. They hadn't seen each other since Christmas and New Year and it was now mid-May. Besides the fact that her sister worked as a CSI meant she was always busy in the lab, what with the high crime rate in the Big Apple and all. If she had asked her to go visit her for a weekend that meant that she was going to get some time off soon or as soon as she could confirm the date. It wasn't that she worked the weekends religiously but the need to get results quickly to help solve a crime meant she had to work more than not in the lab. In addition, being one of the pathology/biology experts of CSI with a specialty in DNA analysis she was always peering through a microscope or working on any number of other pieces of equipment that could produce positive results.
So Jules was feeling a bit anxious for the week to finish. Her sister had dropped a couple of hints that perhaps she had a surprise for her, and she wanted to know what it was. It would be impossible to get it out of her beforehand. If anything Jace was good at, it was at keeping secrets very well and even though she was her sister and her only family did not mean that Jace would say anymore, which meant she would be going crazy with curiosity until then. However, being stoic she would try to pretend she didn't care.
That night when she got home Jules sat in front of the PC to make her reservations and to let Jace know what time she would be arriving in NYC. She hadn't had a chance to do so the two days prior. She had a rule about mixing personal business with work, therefore, when she was at JAS she only dedicated her time to work even when it was a slow day there were always things to do, equipment to check, equipment maintenance, etc. and when she wasn't at work she was on the lake giving kayaking classes.
After a quick search on Delta's page and thanks to the late hour, the flight search engine
found a round trip flight at a good rate, Minn - JFK - Minn. In addition, since she tended to fly a lot she had quite a few air miles accumulated and there was no point in saving them since they had an expiration date so she took advantage. Once the reservation was made, she opened her inbox in order to check the confirmation. As she waited for the confirmation to arrive, she wrote Jace to give her the details and to make sure she had dinner ready for her when she arrived. With a huge smile, she hit the send icon.
While she did this, her inbox had completed its download of the various messages. With a quick glance at the subject, she noticed that the majority were in response to the ad her friends had published in the Sunday paper. Feeling a bit frustrated she selected several to delete, after all, she did not intend to answer anymore. She had already answered several on Monday and that had been enough for her. Before she hit the delete, she noticed that some of them were responses to her original response so she deselected those and deleted the rest. After all, she wouldn't be human if she didn't feel some curiosity to want know what they might have answered.
The first few contained similar responses, thanking her for her response and that they would be happy to stop by JAS and maybe get to know each other on neutral territory, especially in a public place like a gym or outdoor sports training center such as JAS. Satisfied at the possibility of having attracted some new members to the center she continued to read the messages until she got to the one from Little Dreamer
. She had almost forgotten who she was, but once she read the addressee's nick she remembered, she was the girl from the library. With a smirk, she opened the email wondering what kind of stupid reply she'd have to read now. As she began to read the long response, she began to frown at the harsh and emotional words. It was obvious to anyone that she had felt ridiculed and disrespected by her words. Even though that had not been the intention to make her feel that way she also didn't want to encourage her and make her believe that she'd be able to perform the activity without proper preparation just because she thought it was a nice activity.
I must express my deepest apologies for my words. They were never meant to humiliate you or make you feel less capable. I have reread my message and I must admit that my words were bit harsh, but my intention was to make it clear that what I do is not something that can be taken lightly nor did I mean to say that you were inept.
You must understand that due to my years of experience practicing these sports I am very aware of the dangers there are. I know very well, because I myself, even with all of my years of experience on my shoulders have suffered many injuries or have been in many close and dangerous situations. Moreover, I have also been witness to or have heard of many lamentable tragedies due to lack of experience or lack of proper safety measures.
Once again please accept my deepest apologies for having made you feel bad and I ask that if at any time you decide to take up the sport keep my advice in mind and prepare yourself properly before doing it.
"Jules, it would seem that you have absolutely no tact for expressing yourself. Poor girl, you've surely left her traumatized with your cruel words." She chastised herself. Even if at first impression she wasn't the warmest or friendliest person she certainly wasn't a bitter old woman or arrogant, well at least not much. She shook her head in a gesture of disapproval at herself then hit the send icon.
Once it had been sent she finished reading the rest of her email and shut off her PC. She had to get to bed after all she still had two more days to open the center.
Finally, Lil's big day arrived, it was Saturday and her first day of kayaking class. Thursday she had called them again because she still had some doubts and needed to ask further questions. The woman who answered was very nice and helpful and even emailed her a list of equipment. So with registration form in hand which had also been emailed to her she happily set tour for her 10 a.m. class. She headed out on I95 towards Cedar Lake St. where JAS was located. Kelly had left her the SUV the night before, dropping it off on her way out to her Friday night rendezvous and catching a ride with a friend that had followed her. Kelly of course left Lil with specific instructions and warnings for proper care of her baby.
Lil entered JAS's address in the GPS installed in the RAV. Thankful that Kelly was such a techno geek and she didn't have any troubles understanding such gadgets. Within 30 minutes, she was sitting parked out front of JAS. She was pleased with her first impression of the place. Large floor to ceiling windows ran along the front, and on each glass panel was etched in great detail a different figure of a kayaker, hiker, and climber in their individual environments. Lil really liked that touch which indicated to her that the owners took their work seriously. She carefully made sure the car had on its parking break, the windows were closed and the sunshield was in place as she got out of the RAV and hauled out her pack then made sure she locked the doors and set the alarm.
With a nervous knot in her stomach, she opened the door and immediately saw a tall woman at a reception desk. As Lil approached, she noticed she was on the phone, and while she waited for the conversation to end, she looked the woman over. She had dark brown hair and eyes and had a very athletic build. As she waited, Lil turned and looked around the place. Several people were already working away in the various areas. She could see it was a large open area and could see at one end a climbing wall. Lil wasn't exactly fond of heights but she wasn't afraid of them either, she just preferred to keep her feet on the ground. She also noticed a fully equipped gym area, equipped with all the necessary gadgets for weight lifting, stair climbers, treadmills, elliptical, etc. She also noticed what looked like a punching bag off in a corner and wondered what that was for? Lil felt someone tap her shoulder and turned.
"Good morning, I'm Sam Dempsey, welcome to JAS, what can I help you with?" She said with a smile.
"Good morning," Lil answered also smiling, "I'm here for a kayaking class at 10, and my name is Lilith Fields."
"Oh yes we were waiting for you." Smiled once again then stuck her head in an office behind the reception desk. "Alex, your 10 o'clock is here."
Lil heard someone respond and waited. It wasn't long before another tall woman but much more muscular emerged. Jesus they're all amazons!
She thought at seeing them together, they could be Amazon a warrior with those builds. Kelly would be drooling all over the place if she were here,
she thought to herself.
"Hi, I'm Alex Cuomo and I'll be your instructor this Saturday. Welcome to JAS!" Alex walked out from behind the desk and stretched out her hand. They shook hands both impressed by the firm hand shake.
"Today? Does that mean that I'll have a different instructor at each session?" She frowned, she didn't' quite like that idea. She wanted to be able to become comfortable with her instructor but if they switched just as she was getting comfortable with one then?
"Oh no, not at all, it's just the Jules St. Claire, the official instructor had to go out of town on a family matter and couldn't be here today. However, she will teach the rest of the classes. It's not that I can't handle it ok?" She winked at Lil who blushed.
"Oh well I hope it's nothing serious." She hurriedly replied. After all, maybe it had been an emergency.
"No, it's nothing like that, just a family visit." Alex said without going into detail. "Ok then, I understand that you were emailed the registration form yesterday, so if you have that filled out let's get all the necessary details out of the way shall we?" She gave her a crooked smile. Lil took an immediate liking to the way Alex quickly but easily handled things, making her feel more confident.
"Of course, I've got them right here." She put them in a thick folder so they wouldn't be crumpled, from her removed them from her pack and handed them to Alex. Alex checked them to make sure everything was properly filled out.
"Perfect, it says here that you have no experience in outdoor sports, is that true?"
"Yes, that's right. That's one of the reason I'm here, I want to remedy that and start a more active and fun life style." She responded candidly. Alex smiled, Lil was definitely charming, and her child like enthusiasm was contagious.
"Perfect, JAS is the best place to learn Lilith; we have a range of outdoor activities that we can teach you here, as well as the best instructors on this side of the Mississippi. Our center also offers a cardio, strength training, spinning, and Pilate's classes. We also have a sauna, steam room and professional masseuse just to mention a few things. The moment you decide to join even if it's only for personal kayaking classes you become a member of the center and can enjoy all the facility has to offer. If after your course you decide to continue your membership you won't have to pay a membership fee only a monthly user fee which is quite reasonable for what we have to offer." We have a free video that you can watch later to get a better idea of exactly what we have.
"As far as which outdoor sports we offer, we have Whitewater and Sea Kayaking, training programs for Hiking, Cross Country and Rock climbing. And last but not least if you should like any of these outdoor activities, and you want to try something more rugged aside from our local lakes and park areas, we offer our services as expert guides to take you out on weekend excursions to the more rugged Kayaking, Hiking and Climbing areas. We do this because at JAS the safety and satisfaction of our members is of the utmost importance to us.
"Contracting one of the instructors for a weekend, aside from the two that are included in the course is extra right?" Lil asked to make sure. JAS was certainly turning out to be an excellent decision, not only did it have a gym, but also in reality it was a specialized outdoors sports center.
"Totally, those two weekend trips are to nearby areas that are considered Category I & II according to American Whitewater Guide
, basically should you contract one of our instructors for any other weekend excursions, they would normally be for Cat. III & IV. Moreover, it's not that you can't contract them for the first two but that is what this course is for, so that you can learn how to handle those two types. The rest is a question of practice and experience.
"Great, I'm very excited and I can't wait to get started!" She exclaimed excitedly.
"I'm glad you are Lil, so let's get the formalities out of the way and then I'll give you the nickel tour ok? And I'll answer any questions you might have in regards to the course.
"Great, and since you've already filled out the application all we need to do is enter it in our database. How will you be paying? Oh and one last thing," She raised a finger before Lil could interrupt, "in case you should decide to end the course before its conclusion we we'll only bill you for a percentage based on the classes you have taken plus a 10% penalty fee. How does that sound?"
"Just perfect, although I might as well tell you now I'm not planning on quitting." She answered firmly.
"I'm glad to hear it, but maybe you feel that way now but later who knows you might change your mind, don't you think?
"Well it's true that things outside of my control could happen, but I have decided that I will finish the course. I have a firm belief in finishing what I start.
After all the formalities and after Alex showed her around the center they moved next door to "Urban Outfitter's" where Lil purchased a helmet, life jacket and a few other things she thought were necessary. Alex told her they could provide her with the equipment if she didn't want to purchase them yet, but Lil was decided on getting her own equipment.
The first class mainly consisted of whitewater kayaking theory. She got in a kayak for the first time and paddled around in circles couple of times. It was a double kayak so that Alex could guide her and show her the proper rowing method. It was almost two by the time she got back to the apartment. She hurriedly hid away all her new equipment so that Kelly wouldn't discover it. Lil had only been home about a half an hour when Kelly showed up to pick up her RAV. She asked how her day in the mobile library had gone then mentioned she had a date and left.
Lil opened her email account later in the day and saw the message from RunRivergrrrl
she read it and felt a dark satisfaction at the apology. At least she had tried to apologies. She decided against responding. However, if she ever did so, it would be after she had the necessary skills to be able to tell her I told you I could.
The week went by quickly for Lil, she had plenty of work categorizing the books from a new consignment and before she knew it, it was once again Saturday. This Saturday she would get to meet her regular instructor, and she was a little apprehensive, she had gotten comfortable with Alex's easy banter and she couldn't help but wonder what Jules St. Claire was like and if she'd like her. Alex had been very patient with her would Jules be too? Alex told her a bit about Jules, and how even though she and Sam were experts Jules was the real professional. Alex was a former Olympic Gold medalist in Whitewater Slalom at the Athens 2004 games. She retired soon after and joined Sam and herself as a partner in JAS, so she was in the best possible hands.
Lil parked the RAV, pulled out her pack and new equipment and locked the car, and headed inside. She was nervous, she couldn't help it, and it was almost as if she were going to her first class all over again.
At the reception desk was a woman whom she did not recognize. Sam didn't seem to be around and Alex had told her she would be out this weekend. She moved closer and said hi to the redhead.
"Good Morning, I'm Lilith Fields; I have a class at 10."
"Good morning, Miss Fields, Jules is waiting for you." The redhead smiled and stuck her head into the office just as Sam had done the past week. "Jules, your 10 o'clock is here.
"I'll be right there." Lil heard a smooth sexy voice respond from the office.
Jules came out of her office and looked for her new student with a welcoming smile. Lil who was already waiting for her patiently lost her breath when she saw the woman standing in front of her. God, she's beautiful!
Lil thought. A very tall woman at least 6 ft. tall, with long dark hair, and an athletic build to die for. Lil saw her face and her mouth completely dried up. Jules was gorgeous; she was tan due to her time outdoors, high cheekbones, a mouth made to be kissed and eyes bluer than any she had ever seen. Jules looked more like a model that belonged on a Paris runway than a sports instructor. And the fact she was dressed in a wetsuit only accentuated her figure. So captivated was she by the woman that Lil missed her welcome. She only just reacted when she noticed the hand extended out to her.
"Glad to meet you." Hoping it was the proper response and took the hand that was stretched out to her. She almost jumped when she felt something like an electrical charge when the larger hand wrapped around her own. If Jules noticed, she made no mention of it. The strong hand was firm and carried the signs of its owner's various activities, but at the same time felt soft. Lil did not know what was happening to her, but Jules St. Claire was the most beautiful woman she had ever met. "Lilith Fields."
"The pleasure is all mine Lilith. Alex has brought me up to date on what went on last week, today we'll cover some of that again and then practice your rowing in the kayak.
"Lil" said the young blonde to Jules who only stared at her in confusion. "Just call me Lil."
"Of course, Lil." Jules smiled courteously. She extended her arm to indicate that they should leave for the lake. Jules had the impression that she knew Lilith from somewhere. It was strange because she could swear she'd never met her. She had a photographic memory and never forgot a face. And those green eyes, wow she thought disconcertedly, she'd never seen eyes quite like hers, they were beautiful, like?gorgeous! What the hell are you thinking St. Claire, she's your student for Pete's sake!
She chastised herself, well, they are!
Her inner voice responded. Jules frowned and concentrated in what she should be saying and not on what she was thinking.
"Ok, Alex mentioned that you were interested in learning the whitewater kayaking, correct?
"Yes, and I know it can be dangerous and even though I am but a novice I have decided to learn all there is to learn so that I can do it." Lil responded with determination.
"It's a long road that you will have to take so you can achieve that, but for the moment let's start with the basics which is Flat-water kayaking, which is what we will practice today. Before anything else, it's important to learn how to handle a Kayak and feel confident with it and with yourself. So long as you remember that your safety comes first then I'm sure you'll reach your goal. Jules then proceeded to explain to her the differences between the kayaks among other things.
They arrived at the place where JAS housed there kayaking equipment. "We will start as I said with a Flat-water one since we will be practicing on Cedar Lake for the next two sessions. I'll go with you the first time out; therefore, we will use the double one. This way I can give, you tips on the correct technique to use when paddling. Moreover, since you aren't used to it yet I'll be able to help you to row in case your arms and back get too tired. Over the next few weekends I will teach you about the various safety techniques and safety measures and also put them into practice." Jules continued explaining to Lil what she would be covering as they prepared to get into the water. Lil hung on to every word Jules said and asked questions when she wasn't sure about something. She wanted to make sure she understood everything clearly; she didn't want to make a fool of herself if she could help it. Besides to tell the truth she was absolutely fascinated with the beautiful woman, she had such a sexy voice, she just couldn't help it. She felt like a schoolgirl with a crush on her teacher.
One observation that Jules made about Lil was that though she was petite and rather delicate looking she was in reasonably good shape, however even though her upper torso seemed to be reasonably toned, she still heeded more building up in the arms, shoulders and back area which would need to be strengthened in order to handle the kayak competently. She also took notice of how well conditioned her lower body was in comparison. Her legs were extremely well muscled, which from what Alex had told her was due to Lil riding her bike daily back and forth to work.
Jules noticed how Lil paid careful attention to everything she said, which pleased her because it meant that she was taking things seriously. Although most of her students were attentive, Lil seemed to possess a certain childlike desire to learn even the tiniest detail. And boy! did she ask questions, she didn't think that she had ever heard someone talk so much without taking a breath, and surprisingly enough it didn't seem to bother her in the least, which was unusual because she herself was a rather quiet person by nature and didn't feel comfortable around overly talkative people like Lil. However, that wasn't the case at all; it was almost as if the young woman's overflowing enthusiasm was contagious.
Lil was already wearing her wetsuit, so she only had to remove her top and shorts, which she folded carefully and placed in her pack. She followed Jules' instructions as they took out the kayak and set it in the water. They rowed around for a bit while Jules explained to Lil how to hold the paddle correctly and how to distribute her weight; she explained that she would review the instructions with her once again when she went out on her own. She would also instruct her on the hip snap maneuver that she would require to use in order to maneuver a kayak through the river rapids.
The lake fortunately did not have a lot of people yet which permitted her to row around with little interference. Jules observed Lil's technique and would occasionally correct her. She would take advantage of any of the other boats wake to show Lil how to maneuver the kayak through small waves and slightly rougher waters. They were about to head back when a water skier passed extremely close to them causing a fairly large wake. Although it did not capsize the kayak it did scare Lil enough so that she almost lost her balance in the sit-on top kayak and almost tossed them over, but Jules managed to keep them upright but not without getting soaked by Lil's frantic paddling.
"Oh, oh I'm so sorry Jules, I?" she tried to turn around but Jules held her in place.
"No don't, remember we are in a very small boat, if you make any sudden moves you can lose your balance as you might have already noticed and we'll slip." She reminded her in a firm tone but not to stern. Even so, Lil turned red but since she had her back to Jules, she did not notice. "Let's get back, the lake is starting to get more active and they'll be a lot more skiers out and it's not too safe to be out when there are so many around."
Both Lil and Jules were pretty wet when they returned. Once they put away the Kayak, Jules observed that Lil kept rolling her shoulders and asked if she was tired.
"Not so much tired, no," She answered with a shake of her head, "but certainly my shoulders are resenting the workout of rowing for nearly 30 minutes without stopping."
"Let's get back to the center and if our masseuse is free let's get her to give you a massage, otherwise you'll be feeling it for the next several days." Jules told her with a crooked smile. Lil returned the smile and felt as if her knees would buckle, so enchanted with that beautifully crooked grin, as she sighed.
Lil feeling a little disconcerted over her reaction towards Jules wasn't watching where she was going and tripped. As if in slow motion Lil, saw the ground inevitably, get closer and extended her arms out to try to break her fall. She never quite made it when two strong arms caught her, wrapping around her, the feel of the strong and warm body pressed against her own.
"Are you alright?" Asked Jules in her ear, causing Lil to tremble at the feel of the warm breath and velvety voice ask in concern.
"Hmm, yeah, yeah, I'm just clumsy I wasn't watching where I was going." She manage to say in a shakily voice. She didn't know what was going on with her, but being with Jules St. Claire it was dangerous, she couldn't' relieve that just her mere presence made her feel hot and nervous.
"Are you sure?" Jules released her and turned her around to study her, after all she did have a degree in sports medicine. Lil was a bit flushed and felt hot; she noticed that her skin was a bit clammy. "Do you feel dizzy? Weak?" She asked her.
"No, I?no," she shook her head negatively; she couldn't very well tell her she was the cause of her blush and her clumsiness.
"Hmm, I think you might be slightly dehydrated and with a bit of sunburn, the best thing to do is get you under some shade and get you hydrated."
Lil agreed and felt Jules take her by the elbow to help her just in case she felt lightheaded or dizzy again. Which in reality did not help Lil as she felt Jules hand on her making her feel all knotted inside. Just the simple brush of the tall woman's touch made her feel like that. She could not comprehend what was happening, so disconcerted was she that she could not think clearly. Jules mere closeness made it impossible.
When they arrived at the center Jules didn't let her leave right away, instead she led her into the office. Sam watched them intently with a brow raised in question. With a look, Jules let her know she'd explain later.
'You can change in the bathroom," Jules indicated to a door on the other side of the office, "I'm gonna get you a Gatorade, any particular flavor?"
"Hmm, Grape please, hmm?" Lil hesitated a moment and Jules paused at the door.
"Do you feel sick?" She moved closet o her, searching with her eyes for some sign of weakness or dizziness from Lil.
"Hmm, it's just that my pack is in the lockers at the entrance and I need it so I can change out of the wetsuit." She hurriedly assured Jules, giving her a timid smile.
"Oh true," She indicated to give her a moment and left and quickly returned, so fast that Lil barely had time to breath, when she was back, handing over the pack.
Lil went into the bathroom, turned on the cold-water faucet, and splashed some water on her face.
"What is going on with me, for Pete's sake?" She felt as if her nerves were frayed, this couldn't possibly be happening to her! After all, she wasn't Kelly for Christ's sake!
Lil once again splashed some water on her face in an attempt to try to settle her rapidly pounding Heart. She needed to get out of there and analyze her feelings. She had never met a woman that with her mere presence made her feel this way. She was no stranger to physical attraction by any means; she'd had a couple of girlfriends, well, almost. Of course, if she used Kelly's definition of a girlfriend then the answer would undoubtedly be an emphatic "NO WAY" that is not a girlfriend. Come on Lil, settle down, Ok, so she's absolutely GORGEOUS, she's got eyes to die for and her smile would stop traffic, but you need to get over it woman!
She chastised herself. She took a couple of deep breaths and began to change. She was almost dressed when a light knock on the door startled her almost causing her to lose her balance as she was pulling on her pants, causing her to let out a small scream, which caused Jules to throw the door open rushing in thinking something had happened to the young woman.
Lil dropped her jeans in surprise, leaving her only in her panties starring at Jules in fright.
"Oh, I'm sorry I?" Jules turned red when she realized that nothing was wrong and more so when she noticed Lil's wasn't quite dressed. "I thought that something had happened or something, when you screamed I..," she looked everywhere but at the girl. She quickly turned her back when Lil said nothing.
Lil recovered from suddenly having Jules in front of her and clumsily pulled on her jeans.
"You just took me by surprised when you knocked, that's all, and I was pulling on my pants and?"
"I'm sorry, I'll just wait outside." Jules said as she quickly closed the door behind her.
Lil raised her hand to her face then sat heavily on the seat of the toilet.
"I guess today is my day to make a fool of myself in front of the most beautiful woman I have ever known!" Lilith said regretfully. She finished getting dressed, put away her wetsuit in her pack, and left the bathroom. Jules was waiting just outside and smiled when she saw her.
"I'm really sorry," she apologized. "I was just going to ask if you were ok when you screamed. I think I overreacted, I'm sorry."
"Don't worry about it Jules, thanks for worrying about me, it's comforting to know that the health of your clients is important, like I said, don't worry about it." Lil looked into her eyes and once again got lost in their depths, it seemed almost as if Jules could see into her soul.
"Thank you for understanding the safety and well being of our members is vital to us, once again I'm sorry, it was not my intention to embarrass or disrespect you. Here's your Gatorade, drink it, it's important you get rehydrated, you're not used to going a long time under the sun or exerting yourself that much." She indicated.
Lil agreed and opened the bottle, taking a long drink. In reality, she was quite thirsty. Jules observed her closely, making Lil feel self-conscious. Oh for Christ's sake,
she thought to herself, she keeps looking at me, please, please don't keep looking at me that way! You're going to make me blush!
"Are you feeling better? You don't feel nauseous? Dizzy?" Jules insisted, noticing that the flush Lil had did not seem to have improved since she had left her.
"Oh, no, I'm fine, just a bit thirsty." She hurriedly assured. She needed some fresh air and to leave quickly before she made a fool of herself in front of the beautiful woman again. Pretty soon she'd be drooling!
"Good, that's good. I recommend you take a cool shower once you get home and drink plenty of liquids. Drinks with plenty of electrolytes so you can recover some of the salts you lost."
"I'll do that, well I better get going. Thanks for everything Jules, and I'll see you next Saturday for the next class." Lil said, feeling much happier about learning how to kayak. Although the idea of having to spend so much time alone with Jules was a bit disconcerting, agreeable, but disconcerting just the same.
Jules smiled and accompanied her to the door. She watched as she got in the RAV, Lil waved goodbye before exciting the parking lot. Jules remained at the door until she was gone. When she went back inside Sam was staring at her inquiringly.
"Did something happen?" she asked.
"Huh? No, no, I just wanted to make sure that she was fine, she was a bit dehydrated and a little sunburned." She explained indifferently.
"Oh, yeah it tends to happen with first timers, and she's definitely one. Alex told me that she spends almost all her time indoors. So she's not used to spending time outdoors and in the fresh air.
"Oh yeah? That must have been it then." She shrugged as she headed towards her office.
"By the way Jules, we have a couple of new members, they were recommended by RunRivergrrrl
, and do you happen to know anything about that?" Sam said in a teasing tone.
"Oh, well," Jules had the decency to blush, "Well, I took advantage of the reason you two gave me to recommend the gym without going into too much detail. Although I only responded to the ones that looked serious and really seemed to know what they were talking about. I simply erased the rest." She explained.
"Hmm, interesting, and just in case you're interested, one of them is at the climbing wall and the other in the cardio class. The one in cardio looks like your type." She winked and turned towards a member that was just coming in.
Jules let escape a loud breath of frustration and locked herself in her office, even through the closed door her sensitive ears picked up Sam's laughter. She wouldn't go to the cardio class even though she had every right to be there to check up on the instructor. However, if she did that now, Sam would surely take it as interest on her part. Alex wouldn't take long to find out as well and the teasing would start, and frankly she wasn't in the mood for jokes. However, she couldn't deny her own curiosity.
"Damn," she muttered and left her office, "I'm going to go get lunch you want me to bring you back anything?" She asked Sam.
"Are you going to the Italian Deli?" She asked.
"Nope, but if you want something from there I'll stop by."
"Ok, just bring me the usual please."
"Ok, I'll be right back."
"WHAT!" She stopped in her tracks and glared at Sam.
Jules looked at her suspiciously but Sam only starred at her cheekily.
With a growl, Jules left, and if the doors hadn't been automatic, she would have probably heard a very loud slam.
Jules parked her Pathfinder across the street from Milano's Deli; she crossed the street and went in. There were quite a few people in line but it seemed to be moving along quickly. When it was her turn she ordered Sam's favorite paid moved further along the counter and relaxed against a display as she waited. As she turned, she noticed off in the corner the young woman who had just left JAS not more than 20 minutes ago. Without thinking twice and before she realized it, she was standing in front of Lil. Lil had not taken notice until she felt someone next to her and raised her eyes.
"Well hello once again." She said with a small nervous smile.
"Hi, I thought you were heading home?" Jules smiled and sat without waiting for an invitation.
"Oh, I was heading that way when I remembered that I hadn't eaten and I wasn't in the mood to cook. So I figured I'd stop somewhere and eat." Wow, she looks good or even better in shorts and a T-shirt,
thought Lil. Her brain was slowly turning into a useless puddle as she looked at Jules.
"Hmm, I'm here for some lunch too, its Sam's favorite."
Just at that moment, they called Jules number and she stood to go.
"Well that's my number, glad to see you again Lil, remember to drink lots of liquids when you get home." She reminded.
"I'll do that, oh Jules?" she called to the tall woman who stopped and looked back attentively, making Lil speechless once more for a few moments when those mesmerizing eyes found her's once more.
"Well, I was just wondering what you would recommend to build up my arms a bit and not wind up all sore after the classes. I forgot to ask you earlier and forgot to ask Alex last time." She shrugged her shoulders in embarrassment.
"Hang on a sec."
Jules went to pick up the order and returned to Lil's table who by now was almost finished with her own lunch. She sat back down, and placed Sam's lunch on the chair next to her.
"Well it depends on how serious you're taking this course. If you are only in it just for the fun of learning something, well then it might not be necessary. However, if you are thinking of doing Whitewater kayaking as a regular pastime I recommend that you do some strength training for your arms and back. Hmm, if you live close by the center obviously you can use the facilities that we offer. However, if you live a bit far the best thing would be to join a gym close by where you live and tell the instructor what you need so that they can guide and recommend the best routine for those exercises. Obviously, you'll have to tell them that you're not looking to build muscle, just strengthening so you can build up resistance for kayaking.
"I don't live close by; I actually live in St. Paul." Lil said with a bit of disappointment. If she lived closer, she'd be able to see Jules on a more regular basis. On a regular basis? Hello Lil, what are you thinking in that little head of tours?
A small voice in her head responded.
"Well in that case, look for a gym close by, you don't have to attend daily, only three times a week would do. If you can't go or you can't do it due to time constraints you can always purchase a set of dumbbells so you can work out at home and some pushups would be good too."
Hmm, ok I'll take that into consideration." She smiled at Jules who returned it. "Thanks for the advice Jules."
"No problem Lil, have a good weekend." She stood to leave, picked up the order and said goodbye.
Lil watched her go with a huge smile on her face. God, she is so beautiful!
With a long sigh, she picked up her stuff and left. Kelly would be getting home soon to check on her baby.
Just as she had expected only an hour had passed since she had gotten home to when Kelly arrived and made her entrance. She hadn't been able to stop thinking of Jules all the way home and she was grateful for her friend's presence since she needed a distraction or she'd drive herself crazy. She just didn't understand what was happening to her.
"Hey how was work today?" She asked by way of greeting.
"Hi, good, it was interesting." She responded without going into detail.
"They must have had you under the sun; you're looking a bit sunburned." Kelly commented in passing on her way to the kitchen. "Hey since when do you drink Gatorade?" She asked from the kitchen. Lil preferred to drink water or tea. She hardly ever drank cokes or anything else that was artificially flavored.
"Oh, well it was a bit hot today and I was feeling dehydrated, you know to recoup the salts." She said thankful that Kelly was in the kitchen otherwise she would have noticed right away that she was blushing at the half-truth.
"Ah, good." Kelly came back and let herself plopped down next to Lil.
"Did you have any luck last night? Did you meet Miss Right?" Asked Lil, actually she always asked the same question.
"Nothing of the sort, it's always the same faces. You know how it is you always know who's going out with whom and if they haven't gone out then it's someone's ex or something like that." She said wearily.
"Hmm, if you think that why don't you go someplace else or change your routine? You've been doing the same thing for three years now." She commented.
"Well I like to go out with my friends, play a few good games of pool, and on occasion something interesting happens. However, for the moment there is nothing or anyone that has caught my eye. At least not to ask out. That's the problem with being a Les, it's a very small circle of women. And you should know that too since you bat for the same team." She arched her brow and said, "And if I haven't found anyone, I know with you being shut off from the world you won't either."
"Oh, well, I'm in no hurry, they'll come along." She waved a hand dismissively.
"Lil you are such an incurable romantic." Kelly said tenderly. "But even then, being here cooped up in your apartment you will never meet the ideal woman." She insisted.
Oh, I've met her,
she said even surprising herself.
"Well Kel my theory is that if there is someone out there for me, I will meet her no matter what." She smiled dreamily.
"Maybe." Her friend conceded. "Do you want to go to the movies?"
"Sure why not," Lil accepted, "I don't have anything better to do, besides who knows, I could meet my ideal woman even with you tagging along!"
"Hey!!!" Kelly gave her a light punch.
"Hahahaha, come on." She grabbed her keys from the table and her wallet and headed out.
During the ride to the movies, Kelly talked about what she had done and seen on her Friday night outing. If she noticed anything odd about Lil, she didn't seem to take notice, at least not for the moment. Lil didn't normally comment about her nocturnal adventures since she didn't enjoy going out much. Even so, Lil's silence was rare.
After the movie "No Reservations," Kelly suggested that they go out to a pizzeria that was close by to Lil's apartment. Lil agreed even though she felt a bit tired but she still wasn't quite ready to be alone yet. She wasn't sure if it was because of the movie that she felt stranger than usual or what. However, she felt odd and a bit outside of her realm, unsettled and disconcerted with herself. She knew she could count on Kelly to talk to, but what was happening to her now was just too strange.
Strange for her of course, perhaps her friend knew what a physical attraction was at a primitive level and maybe that's what she was feeling. She had never felt like this before, she had no comparison for it, even though she was an incurable romantic as Kelly liked to say; she had always been able to keep both feet firmly on the ground at least when it came to her sex life. Never before, since coming out of the closet and accepting her sexual orientation had she ever felt this way. Despite the fact that this revelation came after a long and conscious introspection on who and what she really wanted of herself. The opposite sex had never attracted her in the least not even a minor crush, which would have been quite normal during adolescence.
At first, she just figured it was just her lack of interest towards boys and her preference for her studies and books and perhaps the fact that they were so immature only interested in their popularity and sport. Later when she was at UMass, she noticed that the young men that were more mature couldn't hold her interest either other than in the academic sense.
And as time passed she noticed that she always felt much more comfortable around women, something which wasn't really too strange, but when she discovered that the very idea of kissing a man was repellant but the idea of kissing a woman wasn't and that that felt right so without heartache she accepted she was gay. For a while she had even come to the conclusion that perhaps she was frigid or at least one of those rare asexual. Either way her interest in sex in general was pretty much nil. Therefore, when she arrived at that conclusion and her acceptance of herself it was as natural as breathing. However having accepted who she was did not mean that she went out and tried to conquer half the female population at the university. Quite the contrary, that only made her more timid, when she accepted this she felt more peaceful and without knowing she unconsciously decided that when she did fall in love she would be the one and only, her soul mate. Lil believed that there was someone out there only for her, someone that would make her feel totally happy and complete.
You couldn't really say she was a Les
without experience, but you couldn't say that she did have it. She had shared a few kisses and some petting with a couple of girls but she never had the desire to go all the way. Moreover, those times it had been more analytical than emotional. Lil could not deny that she had felt something for these girls but it was nothing more than a friendly affection nothing more. Neither of them had left her breathless with only a look, nor did they make her tremble with just a touch, and that, that was exactly what was making her feel out of control. Just the simple act of closing her eyes would bring on the image of Jules St. Claire, who had her all tied up in knots and off kilter. She was happy with herself, her books, her friend, everything seemed to be in harmony with what she wanted, the only thing missing was someone to share it with, and until now, she had not felt that need. So, Why now?
"Earth to Lil, Lil?" Kel shook her lightly, she had tried to get her attention for the last five minutes or so and for just a moment, she thought she had fallen asleep on the way from the theater to the pizzeria. However, that wasn't the case; Lil only stared fixedly out the window and looked like she was a million miles away.
"Oh, I'm sorry what were you saying?" Lil smiled sadly, suddenly she had a feeling of emptiness so profound that she couldn't help but ask herself if her happy life was just an illusion.
"Did something happen?" Kelly looked at her with concern. She knew her to well to not be able to tell that the light that was in her eyes was now dull. Lil was always happy, always joking causing Kelly to wonder why Lil being a young woman with such a noble and happy spirit shut herself away, what was she afraid of?
"Kelly do you think my life is boring?" She asked seriously, looking into Kelly's eyes that only opened and closed her mouth several times like a little fish trying to get air.
"Happy? Why?why do you ask?"
"I asked you the question Kel, do you think my life is boring, and am I happy?" Lil shook her head feeling devastated, as if suddenly the weight of the world had fallen on her shoulders. Kelly couldn't quite understand what was happening. Only a few moments ago, they had been laughing over a silly comedy and now her normally rational friend, who always saw the world simply and happily, would start to question it. Moreover, not only that but asking HER, Her of all people who had no idea what she wanted to do with her own life.
"All this over a pizza?" Kelly tried to joke; the question had totally taken her by surprise. Her friend was the most assertive person that she knew, sure of her life, sure of what she wanted to do with it, what she wanted from it and frankly she had no idea what to respond. Sure, she always, always teased her about her lack of a social life that she spent her life as a hermit but it was mostly because even though they'd been friends since they were in diapers, Kelly was always the disorganized one, the carefree spirit. However, Lil on the other hand had always been her anchor, the light that guided her home, so to suddenly have her start to question her life was like her finding out that her life wasn't worth it either!
"Oh, forget it, let's get pizza." Lil's eyes dulled even more, what was she expecting? She asked herself, she knew she could count on Kelly for anything, but she also knew that there were certain things that her friend wouldn't understand because her personality was not like that. Kelly did not like to complicate her life and tried not to hold herself back if possible in these types of personal questions.
'No, No wait, I'm sorry." She looked contrite, it was obvious that Lil was being serious, something was bothering her and she was her best friend for Christ sake, she should know what to say. "I'm really sorry, like I said you caught me off guard. I didn't mean to not take your seriously, it's just that you're one of the most confident people I know. It's true I always ask myself why you like to live the way you do. Sometimes, I wonder if you're afraid of something, but you know what? I don't believe that's it, it's not fear what you have, but absolute confidence in what you want. Does that make sense?
Lil looked at her for a moment processing her words. Kelly continued to study her as her prolonged silence continued.
"Look ever since we were young you have always been stubborn and obstinate not in a bad way, on the contrary, you would give yourself goals and you accomplished them. It was always like that. You wanted to learn to read you did it before anyone else and little things like that have made up who you are. Moreover, while I fought a bloody battle to accept who I was, you accepted who you were very calmly because you knew it wouldn't be a battle to fight with yourself. Things were what they were and that was that. While I continue searching in every niche and corner of my life, you always knew what you wanted and have it. Your life is not boring Lil, it's just that you take things as they come and expect the same from everyone else. Perhaps that's your only problem, the common person doesn't see life as clearly as you my dear friend."
"But what about my sentimental life? Isn't it because of fear that I hide away in my perfect life? She said in anguish that nearly broke Kelly's Heart. Something had happened, she was sure of it, but Lil wouldn't tell her until she herself could understand it, and by the questions that she was asking it was obvious she was just starting to analyze it.
"Lil ever since you told me that you were gay like me, you also told me with complete certainty that there was someone just for you. You are one of those rare people that will only love once, I don't know why, I don't know if it's because of the way you are, so centered and a dreamer at the same time. That's what you've always treasured with such certainty and what it took you to know in your own heart to know that you are a woman for only one woman. And I am convinced that the day you meet her you will know it just by looking into her eyes.
"The eyes are the mirror to the soul." Lil mused. And the most beautiful and deep blue eyes that she had ever seen in her life had reflected her very soul. Oh god, it's her, she's the one.
The very idea frightened her, it couldn't be! What could a woman of action and adventure possibly see in her a simple Librarian! It was ridiculous.
Lil could never be a poker player, Kelly watched the gamut of emotions that her friend was feeling pass across her face, her face was a reflection of her heart. She knew she was going through an internal struggle, one that she couldn't help her with. She seemed to be going through some emotional changes without her own knowledge. And for just a moment it hurt to think that she was going through it without her, but at the same time realizing that it could not be any other way.
"Whatever it is Lil, I'll always be by your side." She said with warmth and a hug.
"Thanks, forgive me for my philosophic moment, it's just that I'm supposed to be 27, right?
"Well what else are best friends for right? Your birthday was just a few weeks ago could you possibly be having a post case of the birthday blues, grandma?" She gave her another squeeze before letting her go. "What do you say we go get that pizza, I'm starving!"
"Yeah, let's go." Lil smiled in gratitude and they got down and headed inside. Now the only thing left was to figure out what the devil she was going to do with these new feelings for Jules.
On Sunday Kelly took her out shopping to distract her, she knew that if her friend loved to do anything it would be shopping even if they didn't buy much. Just the simple notion of going out window-shopping made her happy. Kelly continued feeling as if her friend was hiding something from her and debated with herself whether to try to get it out of her or leave her alone for a few more days. At the end, she decided to just wait. After all, if Lil hadn't told her yet, it must be for a good reason.
The week quickly passed for Lil, between work and her new exercise routine she wound up sufficiently exhausted to fall asleep as soon as she hit the pillow. During the week, she could not stop thinking of Jules and the feelings that she had awakened in Lil without knowing. Lil tried to rationalize her feelings after all she had just met the woman, how she could possibly feel like that about her in just a couple of classes. Lust, surely it was just lust, right?
It was close to 10:20 and Lil still hadn't arrived at the center, Jules was disconcerted, the girl had given her clear signs that she was serious and really wanted to learn. Therefore, it seemed strange that she still hadn't showed up. She glanced at her watch again and shook her head sadly, apparently, Lil had thrown in the towel after just two classes.
"Jules?" Linda called from the reception desk.
"What's up?" She came out of her office, she had been about to remove her wetsuit thinking that Lil wasn't going to show up.
"You have a call, it's Lilith Fields." She announced.
"Ok, I'll take it in the office." She said as she went back inside. "JAS Outfitness Center, Jules St. Claire speaking."
"Jules, Hi, it's Lil, sorry about the delay, but there was an accident or something on I95 and they are rerouting traffic, which is really backed up. But I'm almost there, unless you think it's too late to go out and you want to cancel the class?" She said a bit mortified.
Jules listened attentively and smiled happy that Lil hadn't thrown in the towel after all as she had thought. That'll teach you not to assume the worst about a person Jules,
she chastised herself. "Don't worry Lil, I was just thinking you weren't' coming after all, but if you're on your way it'll be just fine, and don't worry about it I don't have another class until 2 so you can come on in without a problem."
"Oh, wonderful." Lil exclaimed in relief. For just a moment, she thought she'd miss her class and she really thought she'd die if she didn't get a chance to see her again. Just the sound of her voice made her tremble from head to toe. It definitely wasn't just coincidence what she had felt last Saturday. Oh damn, you are in big trouble my dear Lilith. "
I'll be there in about ten minutes."
"We'll be waiting for you Lil, drive carefully."
"Thanks again, see you in a bit." She said goodbye and hung up.
Jules did the same and left the office. She ran into Alex who was just arriving for the day. Jules could tell that her friend had been out the night before, she looked pale and had dark circles under her eyes.
"Rough night?" She asked sarcastically.
"Oh, shut up!" She shot her a killer stare that only caused Jules to laugh. "Shouldn't you be out on the lake by now?" She asked as she noticed the time.
"Yes, but Lilith is running late, as a matter of fact she just called to say she was sorry for being late and if she could still come."
"Oh, yeah there's a huge accident on I95. I think she mentioned that she lived in St. Paul right?"
"Yes, that's what she said."
"So how's it going? Have you talked to any of the new members that have come in recommended by you?" Neither Alex nor Sam ever wasted a moment in trying to tease Jules about it. However, so far she had not bothered to check to see who they were no matter how much teasing her friends tried.
"Alex, I'm warning you, just drop it! I am not interested in any of them, not yesterday, not tomorrow and certainly not today, Never, period!" She shot her a warning stare from a pair of icy blue eyes, causing Alex to swallow audibly.
"Oh, ok." Alex whined but raised her hands in a gesture of peace. "You can't blame a girl for trying."
"Alexandra," Alex hunched her shoulders when she heard her full name used which she absolutely hated, "One of these days, one of these days you and your grand ideas are going to get you into more trouble than you can handle." She warned. "Meaning Me, so drop it!"
Alex was about to make a smart remark when Lil arrived out of breath. Once she saw Alex, she gave her a huge smile and to Alex's surprise even gave her a hug as if they were best friends. Lil was an affectionate person and usually expressed herself physically.
"Hi Alex! How have you been? I missed you last Saturday!" Lil hadn't realized that Jules was there and was starring at them with a very dumbfounded expression, which she quickly tried to hide when Alex turned towards her. Lil suddenly realized that Jules was standing there to the side and smiled timidly.
"Did Ms. Perfectionist here treat you so bad?" Alex teased and watched in delight as Lil blushed to the roots. "Jules how many times have I told you not to eat the cute little blondes for lunch! That's going to give us a bad name." Lil managed to turn even redder and Jules growled under her breath.
"Come on Lil, my friend here seems to have the desire for an early death, and I wouldn't want to kill you too for being a witness to first degree murder." Jules smiled devilishly at Alex before turning to give Lil an enchanting smile, who at being caught in those blue eyes blushed once again.
"I?I have to change, I'll be right back." Lil responded very embarrassed by the situation. She may have been used to Kelly's teasing but it was another thing to be teased by someone she didn't know very well she thought as she headed for the dressing rooms.
"What the hell was that supposed to be Alex?!" Jules exclaimed as soon as Lil was out of hearing. "She is a student, my student, not Sam or your latest conquest!"
"Oh, come on Jules you should let your hair down more often, besides she's cute don't you think?" She wiggled her eyebrows.
"I don't know, I don't take notice of those things," she answered indifferently, "besides she's my student, it would be unprofessional to see her in that way!"
"Oh, are you serious? But she's so cute! I wonder?" She tapped her finger against her chin.
"Don't even think about Cuomo! She is a student and you know our rules!" Jules warned her.
"Ok, ok, ok but she won't be a student forever." She said laughing as she moved away. If looks could kill Alex would have been dead by now. Jules wasn't sure what had bothered her more, that Lil felt comfortable enough around Alex to hug her or that her friend might be interested in Lil. Lil certainly was no concern of hers, but she knew her friends methods and she just knew that Lil wasn't like that. She couldn't even say whether she was Les or Straight! Oh, what the devil do I care!
She grumbled to herself.
As soon as Lil came out of the dressing room, they immediately headed out to the lake. During the drive, Jules decided to review with Lil some of the things they had already covered in the two prior classes to make sure Lil recalled the tips and techniques for her first kayak solo.
Lil answered the questions and told her she had bought a set of weights and was reading a book on Whitewater kayaking in which they gave tips on what types of exercises to do to strengthen her arms and back. Jules smiled in satisfaction at how seriously Lil was taking to kayaking.
Jules showed her how she should get in the kayak, and various other things before letting her go. Jules also got in a single kayak and followed along with Lil as she slowly rowed along the water.
After about half an hour practicing her strokes and maneuverability, Jules gestured to Lil to head back to the dock. Jules got in the water alongside Lil's. "Ok now one of the basic movements of whitewater kayaking is the Eskimo roll, as you probably already know it's a full 360 degree revolution in the kayak under water. The idea is that if the kayak should capsize you'll be able to resurface quickly without falling out. Therefore, it's an extremely important maneuver to learn to avoid a potentially fatal accident.
Over the next ten minutes or so Jules explained with great detail what Lil needed to do and what she herself would be doing while Lil attempted to perform the roll. She reminded Lil that she may or may not be successful on her first attempt. After all even the most professional had to practice several times before perfecting the maneuver.
Lil tried to pay close attention to Jules, but every so often, she couldn't help but let her mind wonder and observe Jules hands as they expressed something. Hmm, she looks so strong, I still remember when she caught me, so strong and warm. My pulse was beating a million miles a minute then. I wonder what would happen if she really held me? To have the feeling of those strong arms around me.
Lil blushed slightly at the thought and when Jules looked at her strangely, she closed her eyes and breathed deeply trying to control her heartbeat. This was not the moment to be fantasizing. She had to concentrate on performing a difficult maneuver not lusting after her instructor. She shook her head to try to clear her mind.
"Are you feeling ok?" Asked Jules as she studied her looking for any signs of weakness or heatstroke as she noticed Lil seemed a bit distracted.
"Oh, sure, I was asking myself if I was going to be able to do it, it looks difficult." She hurriedly said while hoping Jules hadn't realized that she really wasn't paying attention to the last bit.
"Don't think like that, only think that you will do it, it's true that's it's not an easy maneuver to dominate, but in reality the mechanics of it are fairly simple. It all depends on your arms and back, and that you remain calm. Remember I'll be here right next to you in case you should have any trouble, ok?" She assured her making her feel more confident. "We'll start without the paddle, once you start gaining more confidence in your abilities and can manage it without too much difficulty, we'll start with the paddle. We'll do it from both sides from the left and the right. However, since you are right handed we'll start with that one first. Remember that the key is to perform a good hip flick to keep your head and torso low at the same time that you try to rotate the kayak with your hips.
Lil looked at Jules with a certain amount of apprehension who only smiled at her in encouragement. She nodded, took a deep breath and she let herself fall over on her right side. They first practiced the hip flip before doing the full Eskimo roll.
In reality, tilting over in preparation for the roll wasn't the difficult part, the difficult part would be in rotating her hips sufficiently to be able to make a full roll.
After several unsuccessful attempts, where Jules had to help her straighten up repeatedly, Lil was soaked and was beginning to tire.
"Lil, no, not like that, it's your hips that need to flip the kayak. Use your hips!" Jules repeated firmly with a bit of frustration, which Lil felt deep down inside, tired, cold and feeling totally inept because she couldn't do it, her eyes filled with tears of frustration.
"Get me out of this thing!" Lil grimaced in devastation. "Get me out, get me out!" She said almost hysterically.
Jules immediately moved closer and took her in her arms trying to calm her down, you are so stupid Jules, Stupid. "
Calm down Lil, it's no big deal, I didn't mean to lash out at you, please calm down.
"Please help me out, please." Lil was now inconsolably crying, her body shook with sobs.
"Calm down, I'll help you out in just a moment, just calm down." Jules repeated softly as she tried to help out, but having Lil, clinging to her was making it difficult. Finally, after a few moments she managed to get her out of the kayak and carried her with little effort to the shore. Lil had her face buried in Jules neck who suddenly became very conscious of the small but firm body pressed against her chest, and the feel of the lips that brushed against her neck without its owner's knowledge, as Lil continued to cry in frustration and impotence for not being able to perform the flip.
Jules looked for a bench close by and sat down without letting Lil go. The tall woman was feeling very bad, it wasn't unusual for one of her students to get upset about their lack of success at trying to do one of the maneuvers. She had never seen such a display of sadness or desolation like the one Lil was exhibiting and she didn't have any idea of what to say to her.
"Come on Lil, it can happen to anyone, it's not exactly an easy maneuver to dominate." She tried to comfort her by rubbing her back in small circles.
Lil murmured something against her neck, her warm breath making her tremble and feel flushed, and making her wonder why being close to, Lil made her react that way. I mean she was supposed to be consoling her. "What?" Jules asked pulling away slightly, she was beginning to feel uncomfortable, and if anyone from JAS saw them, they could misinterpret the situation.
"I'm completely useless." Lil said between sobs. "That horrible Runrivergrrrl
was right; I'm incapable of following it through! I can't, I just can't."
Jules could barely understand Lil, between her tears and deep sobs it was difficult to do so, but there was something that she did hear clearly, RunRivergrrrl. Oh boy, she's one of the girls that responded to the stupid Ad, but who? I didn't tell anyone they couldn't do it, I invited them to?
Suddenly the exact words she used to respond to one message specifically came back to her. Oh no, oh shit! Little Dreamer? It can't be!! She's supposed to be a Librarian! Librarians aren't supposed to have bodies like this! Their supposed to be matronly, dressed in flowery dresses and wearing old lady glasses! Damn! It just can't be Little Dreamer, it can't be!!! She's totally the opposite. I mean look at her, she has the most gorgeous green eyes that you can get lost in?a killer smile, petite but well proportioned in all the right places?wait! Wait just a minute I can't be thinking of her like this. I don't fraternize with clientele. No, no just forget about it! Focus St. Claire, it's an order!
"Lil, Lil, listen to me." She said firmly but softly trying to get her attention. "Lil, calm down, it's not true that you can't do it, RunRivergrrrl
is an idiot, she doesn't know you, she doesn't know what you're capable of; after all Rome wasn't built in a day, please don't feel bad. You're barely on your third class sweetheart, come on smile for me." She said affectionately.
Lil in even in her muddled mind managed to hear the sweetheart
and even though her rational mind told, her Jules only said it to comfort her, something inside of her melted. She felt very comfortable and safe in her strong arms; in fact, she had never in her life felt so secure. It was as if she belonged in the arms of the tall woman. However, she managed to pull herself away a bit so that she could look into Jules eyes. Something tremendous was happening to her and she could do nothing to stop it.
"You?you called me sweetheart." She said under her breath looking into her eyes, looking for some kind of answer even a small one, her heart was calling out to Jules.
"Oh?" Jules looked at her a bit disconcerted, she hadn't realized what she had said but Lil's look was a mixture of hope and surprise that knocked her off balance. Just what the devil did Lil have that made her want to protect her? "Oh, did I?" Forgive me if I made you uncomfortable, it's just that you were so upset that?" She didn't know what else to say.
Lil's eyes dulled at the apparent discomfort Jules was in, taking several deep breaths she let her go and tried to stand. Jules appeared not to want to let her go until she realized that Lil was looking at her inquisitively.
"I'm sorry, are you alright? Do you feel better?" She rapidly said trying to ease the situation.
"Yes, thanks, forgive me for acting this way, I'm sorry. I remembered the ugly words from the woman and the fact that I couldn't manage to do the flip suddenly hit me, I?" she shook her head sadly, "well you're right." She tried to settle down and smiled sweetly which caused Jules heart to beat faster. "I shouldn't despair, I still have a few classes left."
"That's the spirit, don't give up, you'll see that you'll get it." Jules stood and brought a hand up to her throat in a nervous gesture. "I have to put the kayak away, if you want to go on and change." She looked over to where the kayak was which fortunately the current hadn't carried away but actually pushed it closer to the shore.
"Let me help you, it's my?" Lil started saying ashamed about her meltdown, but Jules interrupted her.
"Don't worry I'll get it done before you know it, go on a change you must be freezing." She was grateful for the offer, but she had noticed that Lil's skin was still covered in goose bumps.
"Are you sure?" Lil insisted, it was true she was cold but she wanted to help just the same.
"Yes, yes, go." She smiled at her assuring her that it was fine.
Lil agreed and began to head towards the car then stopped realizing she had nowhere to change. She stopped and turned towards Jules who by now was in the water retrieving the kayak. She looked around and could see at some distance what must be some public toilets, but they were quite a bit away. As she looked around again the closet thing she saw was the Boat shed where the kayaks and other equipment ware kept. She proceeded to get her pack and headed for the Boat shed
"What the hell!" Jules exclaimed under her breath. She tried to forget for just a moment what had just happened and waded into the water to retrieve the kayak and stow it away. As she approached the Boat shed with a kayak under each arm she saw Lil emerge dressed and looking slightly better but still teary eyed. Once the kayak was stowed, they headed back to JAS, arriving within 10 minutes.
Not a another word had been said on the way back and as soon as they arrived, Lil quickly dropped Jules off and left, tearing out of the parking lot as if the devil were after her. Jules watched her leave then turned and headed inside still a bit confused by what was happening. Lil had left without even saying goodbye and for some reason that upset her.
"Hey did something happen out there? Lil was burning enough rubber to leave only the tire rims in place." Said Alex, looking at Jules curiously. Something was definitely up since Jules looked upset as well.
"No, nothing, Lil was just having a tough day, she was having a hard time learning the Eskimo roll, and that left her a bit sad and upset." Jules explained trying to sound neutral.
"Really? Well Sam happened to be driving by the lake on her way to work and noticed you seemed to be doing a pretty good job of comforting her. I thought you said we couldn't fraternize with the students?" Alex couldn't help but tease her, she knew from what Sam had told her that in fact Jules was trying to help Lil out of the kayak for whatever reason. In fact, she had stopped to see if the needed any help, but when she saw that Jules had the problem under control she had left. Alex knew it was highly improbable that Jules would coddle a student, but all the same, Alex couldn't pass up the opportunity to hassle her friend.
"Knock it off Alex!" Jules savagely responded. "Do you really relieve that everyone is just like you?" She pinned her with eyes as cold as ice, any other reasonable person would have left a trail of dust but not Alex Cuomo. One would wonder if she was being brave or just stupid.
"Hey, hey what's wrong with you?" Alex questioned now upset as well at her friend furious attitude. If she didn't know any better she'd say?she narrowed he eyes and looked at Jules, she looked upset, to upset to be? "You like Lil!!"
"Don't say such stupid things Alex! She's not even my type." She growled in frustration, although she knew that it was the truth, she hated the fact that her friend had seen it. Since when had Alex been able to read her so easily.
"Ha, it's been so long Juliette that you don't have a type anymore, so don't even deny it, YOU LIKE HER!!!" Alex insisted. She seemed to have an insane desire to die young. Sam stuck her head out the office door and seeing her friends going at it, ran out to try to see what was going on.
"Alex, Jules what the hell is going on?" She asked looking from one to the other. Jules was glaring at Alex as if she would kill her and Alex had a smirk on her face that was just begging someone to wipe it off with a right upper cut.
"Jules likes Lilith Fields!' Alex said laughing. "She likes her, she likes her!!"
"Shut up Alexandra! You don't know what you're saying!" Jules face was red from anger, she was dying to beat up on Alex, but how could she hit her best friend who was only telling the truth? "I'm going out for lunch, I'm not going to continue listening to your idiotic ideas."
Jules went into her office and left five minutes later after changing from her wetsuit. She charged by in a whirlwind as her two friends watched her intrigued. Both knew their friends explosive temper very well when she was provoked, but it was also true that Jules had a tight hold on her emotions.
Alex and Sam looked at each other and without being able to contain it any longer started laughing hysterically. There was something cooking whether Jules liked it or not.
"What do you think Alex?" Sam asked now feeling calmer.
"I think that our dear Ice Princess is beginning to melt." She proclaimed.
"How can you be so sure?" Sam insisted not very convinced. She had not seen anything out of the ordinary between Jules and Lil, although she really hadn't been around them enough to be able to really say.
"You know what Sam? When have you ever seen Jules carrying one of her students and holding them in comfort?" Alex asked.
"You're right," Sam observed. Jules would never do anything like that. At least never with a student. Well it'll be interesting to see what kind of mood Jules comes back in, but for the moment if I were you I'd disappear from sight for awhile."
"Don't remind me, by the way shouldn't you be at home at this hour?" Alex asked when she remembered that it was supposed to be Sam's weekend off.
"Yeah it was supposed to be, but I'll need next weekend off, so I was gonna ask you if you'd cover for me. Jules won't be taking Lil out to the river until next weekend, so?"
"Oh, ok, no prob. It's not as if I have anything better to do anyway. Besides, if I leave Jules will have a heart attack. I have three climbing classes and Linda has to leave early, so you can cover the reception desk while I give my classes.
"Ok, sounds good."
Jules needed time to calm down, she wasn't hungry so she headed out to Calhoun Lake, and she found a bench along a running trail and sat under a tree to think.
She tried to dissect the morning's events in a cold and calculating manner as always, it was that analytical mind that allowed her to sort through the obstacles that she came across in her life, and this problem was not going to be the exception. The problem was?she didn't even know what the problem was, well not that she didn't know really, it just didn't make sense.
After Jules relationship with Mika, she cut herself off completely from any possibility of an emotional or sexual relationship, it was as if Mika's infidelities had broken her heart, but to be honest with herself she didn't love her or at least not like she thought she should after being together for a year. However, once she had found out about Mika's infidelities she realized that the only real thing they had in common between them was the love of outdoor sports and sex. And that wasn't enough anymore.
Jules packed up her things, which wasn't much since the house they lived in really belonged to Mika and 15 hours later she had left Colorado Springs and was standing at Alex and Sam's front door in Minneapolis. Alex and Sam roomed together and after hearing their friend story, they gladly took in their best friend Jules. It wasn't long before the three of them started up JAS. Her friends had done everything possible to pull Jules out of herself imposed shell, but Jules had no intention to let herself be vulnerable ever again, because even though she hadn't truly loved Mika it still hurt.
God, it can't be, I don't even know her! We've only seen each other a couple of times and only during class!
However, she couldn't deny that she had taken notice of Lil; she couldn't get the idea of having known her before out of her mind. However, those green eyes and that smile had enchanted her from the first. She didn't understand why she had a strong desire to protect her. She'd never before been so attentive with a student. And Alex's comments about Lil as if she were just a good looking piece of meat had really upset her and she had overreacted without any real reason to do so. Moreover, when Lil had gotten upset over her scolding she had really regretted having said them. If it had been anyone else she would have been completely exasperated with them, but not so with Lil. With Lil she had been tender something which she never did with anyone but her twin. Moreover, when she held her in her arms she didn't want to let her go.
"God, what a mess!" She mused tossing a rock she had found aside. "And she's Little Dreamer
, I would never have imagined. But she's sweet and genuine just as her words had been. Oh damn and if I tell her that I'm that horrible woman
she'll probably run screaming without even looking back. Librarian's just don't look like that!" She repeated to herself one more time incredulously. "But the nick certainly fits her." She smiled as she saw Lil in her mind's eye. "She's small, and that smile really makes her look like a dreamer, so sweet." Her inner voice once again reprimanded her for the hundredth time, trying to keep her thoughts from what she really knew she wanted. "She's a student Jules and you should remember that, besides she's not your type, she's a bookroom and you are an adrenaline junkie, she's a chatterbox and you a silent screen star! You have absolutely nothing in common. Besides you don't want to have a relationship with anyone." She declared seriously.
"I think I need to go out a bit, yes, it's been quite some time that my trusty appendage has been the only one to take care of my needs. That's it I need to go out, bring someone home and have a little roll in the sack."
With her mind made up, she decided it was time to get back to JAS, besides it was almost two and she had another class to give.
For the rest of the day she practically ignored both her friends, but just as they were getting ready to close and the place was almost empty since it was Saturday, the three sat in front of the TV by the entrance to watch a baseball game.
"Hey, what do you say we all go to "Jugs" tonight? It's been a while since I've been out." Jules said suddenly.
Alex almost fell out of her chair as she suddenly turned to stare at Jules in surprise. Sam placed a hand on Jules forehead to check for a fever, which her friend knocked off.
"Did I hear correctly?" Alex asked Sam in shock.
"For Christ's sake, what's so strange about wanting to go out and have a few drinks with my best friends?" Jules exclaimed impatiently.
"Could it be that it's because you haven't done it in at least two years?" Sam pointed out.
"Because I got tired of saying, "Not interested, not because I didn't like it!" She said in frustration.
"Ok, ok," Alex exclaimed hurriedly, after all she wasn't a woman to let an opportunity to go out slip away. The bar in question was in St. Paul and it had been awhile since they'd been to the place. Besides, she wasn't over her surprise. She'd been waiting what seemed like a lifetime for Jules to want to go out again, it was always fun to go out with her, not only did she dance like a goddess, the very fact that she was drop dead gorgeous always attracted other chicks. Moreover, Alex had no objection in taking over Jules rejects.
"Ok, let's go, we can close early. The way the weather has been lately everyone would rather be partying than in here sweating and tomorrow is Sunday and we don't open till 11." Sam said.
Kelly was still clueless about Lil's activities. She had no clue that Lil had purchased the weights and was now working out daily as soon as Kel left. It had been this way all week. She still had not noticed either that Lil had been exceptionally quite and thoughtful. Kelly and Lil were supposed to go out to celebrate Kel's birthday, and just like every year it was one of the few times she could count on Lil to go celebrating with her. The day before, her other friends had taken her to a strip club and had gotten her a lap dance. Kelly had a great time but when it came down to a serious celebration, it was always with Lil. The truth was that the day of her birthday was her opportunity to drag out her friend to get some air.
She was so engrossed in telling Lil about the previous night that she never noticed Lil's blank look or the frequent deep sighs that would escape her friend. Lil was definitely elsewhere but she must have been responding correctly to whatever Kelly was saying because she never stopped talking the whole way to the bar that her friend had chosen to go to for the night.
That afternoon after returning from JAS, she had been drifting in a sea of emotions. She had gone to her class feeling as if she had butterflies in her stomach, asking herself if what she had felt for Jules from the first moment had been just a fluke. Nothing had prepared her for the torrent of feelings that she felt at seeing this woman for the first time, much less for the near meltdown she had when Jules had nearly yelled at her after her sorry attempts at the Eskimo roll. Moreover, when Jules had carried and held her it was as if she had finally found the missing piece of her heart that she didn't even realize was missing until now. There was no way for Jules to have known that not only was Lil crying due to frustration but also at the sadness she felt at suddenly feeling those arms around her and the possibility of never feeling them again. When she had buried her face in Jules neck she had wanted to kiss and taste it so badly, that it only made her cry more at the injustice of her life and her own fears. She would never dare let her know how crazy she was about her. That she felt much like a moth attracted to a flame.
Somehow, she had managed to get back to her apartment, parked the RAV and hit the shower. Distractedly she had prepared dinner and sat in front of the TV without seeing it. At eight Kelly still had not showed up. Thinking that perhaps her friend had gotten lucky and that she wouldn't show up until Sunday she decided to get ready for bed. She was so exhausted from the rollercoaster of emotions that she had been on that, she completely forgot about her friend's birthday and that they had planned to go out to celebrate. She was just heading for bed when Kelly came in ready to go out and starving to death as usual.
"What are you doing dressed like that?" Kel asked once she saw her. "Don't you dare tell me you are not going out with me."
"Go out?" Lil suddenly recalled their plans. "Oh, no, no." She hurriedly said. "I was just going to go get ready; it's still early after all."
"Ok, you better go change, the sooner we leave the better parking spot I can get, and I want to get a good table, it's Saturday and people tend to show up a little earlier than usual.
Lil ran to her room while Kelly hit the frig looking for something to eat.
"You should have gone Lil, even you would have been drooling all over that stripper, oh boy was she hot!" Kelly grinned.
"Hmm, I'm sure Kel." She agreed just to let her friend know she was listening. Her mind was not on any strippers but on a woman who was truly HOT.
Kel exclaimed happily at having found a parking space so close by. She hurriedly parked and turned towards Lil. "Are you ready to celebrate our birthdays Lil?" She asked with a Machiavellian smile.
"Kel, my birthday was April 27." She reminded her.
"Yes but you didn't want to go out for your birthday, so today will be a two-for-one." Her friend declared with a goofy face, causing Lil to laugh.
They walked to the bar, paid the half price entrance fee, since it was before 11 p.m. when they began to charge the full fee. "Jugs was a les bar that was a bit more in the old classic style from the ones that Kel usually went to, but Lil didn't like those places because they were too noisy. This place was more subtle. They walked up to the bar and Kel began to order for both of them when Lil surprised her by asking for a Vodka Tonic for herself. Lil didn't usually drink hard liquor, noticed Kel's look of surprise, and proceeded to explain.
"Aren't we celebrating our birthdays?"
"Yes, that's what we're doing, but if you're going to be drinking then I'll pass up on my usual tequila shot because after a couple of those you won't be in any condition to drive."
"Oh, I didn't think of that, I mean we are here to celebrate your birthday." She was going to tell the bartender to change her order when Kel stopped her.
"No, don't worry about it, I had my fair ration of alcohol last night and we are going to have a good time. I don't have to be drunk to have fun." She winked.
With drinks in hand, they found an empty table. That night the bar would be holding a drag show, which was something Lil enjoyed watching. And this was one of the reasons Kelly had chosen this place in particular. After the show, they would play dance music from the 80's and 90' due to the clientele being slightly older.
It was well past 11:30 when the JAS trio arrived, the drag show was just about to end. Alex and Sam headed directly to the bar while Jules looked for a place to sit. The tall woman approached the table area and looked up at the stage for a moment to see a woman doing an Elvis impression. When she was done, Jules once again scanned the area looking for a table. Suddenly her eye widened. Off in a corner table in the shadows was Lil. She was applauding the Elvis impersonator vigorously. Jules couldn't take her eyes off her, what was she doing here?
Her mind screamed, she had thought that by going out tonight she'd be able to exorcize Lil from her head.
Alex soon joined her holding a bottle of Guinness in one hand and tequila shot for Jules in the other, she noticed Jules starring at something and turned to follow her gaze.
"Oh my, look who's here; it's the one and only Little Lil!
" She exclaimed happily. "Let's go say hi Jules."
No!" Jules mouthed and about to suggest they go someplace else when suddenly she noticed a slightly taller blonde with curly hair sit down at the table with a couple of drinks. She whispered something in Lil's ear as she passed her the drink. Lil laughed heartily and it was then that the blonde saw Jules. Her laughter died suddenly and she waved hello. Jules insides were twisting in jealousy. Who the hell is that woman and what is she doing with Lil!
"Oh look its Lil." Sam said as she approached. "Look she's waving, let's go say hello. And look she's got a table; maybe they'll ask us to join them?" She commented completely missing the killer look aimed her way as they began moving in that direction.
When Lil had stopped laughing and had turned to wave at someone Kel turned to see who it was and almost choked on her drink.
"Oh my God!!" Kelly exclaimed, "Who is that? Lilith Fields just how is it that you know them? Lil!!!" She whined at her friends' silence. She seemed almost hypnotized by the taller woman, but then who wouldn't be? She was beautiful. Jules had decided to wear black, black jeans that were painted on like a second skin, a leather vest with nothing underneath and a leather jacket. The tall woman also seemed to have her eyes glued to Lil. Kelly next looked to the tall woman's left and saw another beautiful woman. "Oh my" she breathed. Lil awoke from her trance and for a moment thought Kelly was drooling over Jules and that ugly green monster made a brief appearance. She lightly hit her in the stomach.
"Close your mouth or the flies will get in." She scolded.
"Who are they Lil?" She whispered as if the music weren't enough to cover their voices. Within moments, the three women from JAS were standing by their table. Alex as usual was the first one to speak.
"Hey Lil, what a surprise to see you here, didn't we tire you out enough this morning?" She smiled in delight at the blush that could be seen despite the semi-darkness of the bar and turned a charming smile on Kelly who giggled at the attention.
"Hi girls," Lil smiled still blushing, she had no choice now but to tell Kelly the truth, who would probably be really pissed. Lil noticed the way Kel was drooling over Alex, which secretly pleased her, which might make up for her lack of truth. "Jules, Alex and Sam this is my best friend Kelly O'Conner. Kelly this is Jules St. Claire, Alex Cuomo and Sam Dempsey, they are owners of JAS Outfitness Center, where I go to every Saturday for Kayaking classes."
"Nice to meet you Kelly." Alex instantly took her hand and kissed it delicately.
"The pleasure is all mine." Kelly gushed and decided for the moment to let Lil's of the hook for the moment. Mobile Library my ass!
Sam and Jules briefly shook Kelly's hand in greeting.
Jules couldn't seem to take her eyes off Lil; she looked ravishing in a simple aqua colored tank top with rhinestones that hugged her figure bringing out blue specks in her green eyes. The tank was tucked into tight white jeans that hugged her hips and legs nicely. Over the back of her chair lay a matching jean jacket. She was feeling in a much better mood now that she knew that Kelly was only a friend. I thought you said you didn't care?
The small voice in her head was beginning to get on her nerves.
"Would you like to join us?" Lil asked. She'd already had a couple of vodka tonics under her belt and was starting on her third so she was feeling braver than usual.
"We'd be glad to." Sam smiled. "I think we arrived a bit late and the place is packed. Alex rushed to take the chair next to Kelly; Sam sat next to her leaving Jules to sit next to Lil.
"So tell me Alex how is our fair Lil doing at your center?" Kelly asked shooting a glare in Lil's direction, who had the decency to blush.
"Oh, you should ask Jules, she's her instructor after all."
Jules smiled letting loose her natural charm and in a sexy voice responded.
"Fantastic, I've never had a student so willing to learn, Lil is great!"
Lil turned red all the way to the roots of her hair and finished off her drink. Jules noticed and asked if she would like another. Lil could barely speak she was so flustered by Jules closeness and just nodded affirmatively.
"Vodka Tonic." Kelly answered.
Jules agreed and went for the drink. Sam was asked to dance with a friend she had seen earlier when they had arrived. Leaving Lil, Alex and Kelly at the table.
"Lil, what a nice pleasure to see you here," Alex said. "If I had known you were going to be here with such a beautiful companion we would have arrived earlier." She flirted outrageously with Kelly who smiled in delight.
"It's Kelly's birthday, we came to celebrate." Lil was already feeling slightly tipsy, even though it was hard to tell, but her friend knew that she was and took advantage of the situation, after all she needed to get even for having lied to her about her Saturdays.
"Well that's only partly true Alex; we are celebrating both our birthdays."
"Oh really? Is it your birthday too Lil?" Alex asked with interest.
"Not technically, but since I didn't go out and celebrate, Kelly took advantage of that to do a double celebration."
"Oh that's marvelous! Jules we are celebrating a double birthday!" Exclaimed Alex as her friend returned to the table with Lil's drink and tequila for herself.
"Are you serious? Well congratulations to both of you." She sat down and passed Lil her drink.
"This deserves a birthday kiss." Alex said happy for the excuse to kiss Kelly, but before she did so she leaned over and gave Lil a peck on the lips taking her by surprise and wanting to see what her friend's reaction would be. She smiled secretly to herself when she noticed that Jules almost jumped out of her chair and had to try to control herself by downing her tequila.
"Thank you Alex!" She said a bit embarrassed and lowered her gaze, missing Jules look.
"Happy Birthday Kelly." It was her friends turn and Alex did not miss the opportunity to kiss her. It was obvious that she was interested as well, letting the kiss linger longer than necessary. The music was inviting and Alex didn't waste any time inviting Kelly to dance who accepted gladly.
Jules and Lil were left at the table alone, for just a moment there was an uncomfortable silence, neither one knew what to say, conscious only of each other's closeness. They could almost feel each other's body heat, which had nothing to do with the place or the other bodies around them. Lil took a long drink from her glass, this is the last one,
she told herself.
She didn't want to look ridiculous in front of Jules again.
"So it was your birthday?" Jules voice said almost in her ear, which sent tingles down her spine making her more aware of the attraction she felt for Jules by its intensity.
Lil felt her mouth go dry; she took another sip from her drink to moisten it. "Actually it was almost a month ago on April 27.
Jules was just about to say something when Sam returned, sat and drank from her beer thirstily.
"Wow, its sure is hot in here!" She exclaimed not taking notice of the tension at the table.
Jules saw out of the corner of her eye a woman headed for their table, she had noticed earlier that she didn't take her eyes off of Lil and before she reached the table she asked Lil to dance.
"Would you like to dance? A birthday dance?" She looked into her eyes so intently that Lil felt that she would drown in them, as if Jules could read her soul and took possession.
Lil didn't know where her voice had gone so she just nodded; Jules took her hand and signaled Sam to take care of the table who agreed. As they passed by the woman who had been about to ask Lil to dance she smiled in triumph and the woman simply shrugged her shoulders.
Just as they arrived on the dance floor the song "I Want to Know What Love Is" began to play, neither Jules nor Lil seemed to notice. Jules began to move slowly brining Lil in against her, both moved in unison. The electricity that seemed to emanate from them seemed to catch several couples attention who thought to themselves that they made a great couple. Jules seemingly without thought pulled Lil closer still who then leaned her face into her neck and sighed. Jules could feel how her heart beat rapidly, Lil's body heat soaked into her skin; the blonde's breath burned her neck. Lil was in heaven, she didn't know if it was the alcohol that was in her system or if she was feverish but she needed to know?she pulled away slightly, it was as if destiny was trying to tell them something that neither one dared to say. Jules foggy brain listened to the words of the song just as Lil opened her eyes and looked at her directly touching her soul.
?I'm gonna take a little time
A little time to look around me
I've got nowhere left to hide
It looks like love has finally found me?
Jules either couldn't or wouldn't fight against the invisible force that was guiding her, without knowing how a pair of soft lips made contact with her own. She didn't know which one of them moaned or maybe both, but at the first contact, an electrical current wrapped around both of them, an explosion of sensations that left them breathless. Lil opened her lips in silent invitation that Jules did not intend to refuse. She captured Lil's mouth in a hungry and sensual kiss. She felt like someone dying of thirst in the middle of a desert and Lil's mouth was the fountain that she needed to slack her thirst. Lil's hands went around Jules neck pulling her in impossibly closer, Jules attempting to pull her in closer as well. The music slowly died away but the two women were lost in the sensual haze, neither coming up for air as if they could draw breath from each other to live.
Suddenly a round of clapping pulled Jules from the bubble she and Lil had been lost in. She looked around a bit disconcerted and saw her friends and Kelly clapping and whistling. Lil reacted to Jules sudden separation and when she noticed Jules shocked expression she interpreted the look as something else and horrified pulled further away. OH GOD! What have I done?
Her mind screamed at her in agony. She felt her heart break into a million pieces. Without thinking she ran away from the dance floor not even seeing the people that were around her. Everyone was confused they seemed to be the perfect couple. When Kelly saw her friend bolt, she hurriedly stood grabbed Lil's jacket and her own and ran after her but not before saying a few quick words to Alex.
Jules finally seemed to react and with shaky steps moved to the table running her hands through her hair in a nervous gesture. Alex and Sam were about to say something but once the saw Jules face anything they were about to say died on their lips. Jules look was of sheer panic, as simple as that.
"I need to get out of here!!" Jules said in panic.
Alex and Sam agreed, in all the years they had known their friend they had never seen her react like this over a kiss. Jules put on her jacket without saying a word and left followed by her friends who were very perplexed and didn't know what to say. Alex and Kelly had returned to the table shortly after Jules and Lil had taken to the dance floor. Alex had already informed Kelly of the apparent attraction Jules had for Lil. When they saw them on the dance floor together they had been left speechless at the obvious chemistry and raw sensuality the two women exuded from every pore. They moved in unison as one, a halo seemed to surround them and they seemed to exist only for each other. They were witness to what was transpiring before them. Once the music had ended, Alex decided she needed to do something and decided to applaud, the other two followed then suddenly Lil went running off and Jules was left like a statue in the middle of the dance floor. Not one of the three knew what had happened but it was definitely not the reaction they had expected. Surprise, blushes, upset yes, but not what had occurred.
Lil ran almost blindly out of the bar, her eyes full of tears. She continued running before a pair of arms caught her, Lil fought against them.
"Lil, Lil, it's me," Kelly said in alarm. "It's just me sweetie, calm down."
Lil threw her arms around her friend sobbing violently, her small body quacking.
"Take me home Kel, please!" She pleaded. Kelly without letting her go guided her to the RAV she opened the passenger door and helped her get into the passenger seat still crying away. She moved around to the driver's side and after making sure the seat belts were secure she pulled away and glanced over at Lil who had curled up against the door. Kelly was really getting worried she had never seen her friend like this, she looked like a broken doll and her cries seemed to come from the bottom of her very soul.
"Lil sweetie, talk to me." Kelly begged.
"I can't Kel, please I?" She moaned her voice strangled by tears. "I can't."
Kelly pressed her lips closed and left her alone, as they drove by the front of the bar Lil glanced out the window just in time to see Jules tearing out of the bar as if a thousand demons were after her. That vision was enough to stab Lil through her already bloody heart.
They arrived to Lil's apartment without her saying a word. Soon Kelly had the door unlocked and Lil ran to her bedroom, threw herself on the bed, and hugged her huge stuffed teddy bear. Once Kelly had locked the door, she curled up with her friend on the bed holding her tightly. Eventually Lil fell asleep still crying. Kelly was still in the dark not having any idea what had happened and Lil refusing to say anything.
Sunday came and went and Lil refused to leave the bed, she barely ate and spent the day sleeping. On Monday, Kelly called the library and told them that her friend needed a few days off. She also asked for the day off. She had spoken to Alex and who seemed to be in the same situation as herself. Jules refused to talk and spent the time at the center working or at the lake rowing.
On Tuesday, Kelly only went to work because Lil insisted she was better. Her friend reluctantly went. Lil spent her day crying, but put on a better face when Kelly got there, but she knew that she couldn't fool her.
By Wednesday, Kelly who was worried to death confronted her friend during lunch; she had left work almost an hour earlier to see her friend. When she found her in the living room curled up in a little ball crying she decided enough was enough.
"Lil listen to me," She shook her until Lil opened her eyes. Kelly moaned at seeing the desperation and pain in her friends eyes, put she persevered, she had no idea what the devil had happened but she was sure that it was all just a major misunderstanding. Alex had told her that Jules was just as bad as her friend was; she wouldn't eat, barely slept and was killing herself weight lifting or whatever she could at the center. "I don't know what the hell you think happened between you and Jules but I assure you it's not what you think." She said in desperation.
"What do I think Kel?" Lil nearly yelled, "What do you think I'm thinking! I was a stupid idiot, I was drunk, and didn't you see the look of disgust on her face. You were there! What could she possibly see in a boring and simple librarian like me?"
"Now wait just a damn minute Lilith, you don't know what you're talking about. Damn it Lil, I was there, and I saw, I saw! It was fucking incredible! I wasn't sure if I was excited or dying from envy! It was magic Lil, bloody incredible! You two looked like you were floating in a world all your own. It was so damn beautiful. You the one that is always talking about soul mates and believe in them are a blind idiot not to be able to see it." In that moment that she said it Kelly realized the truth, that Lil had felt it, she knew it, it was only a question of pushing her in the right direction. Lil for being so good at her job was a baby when it came to questions of the heart. "Lil sweetheart, believe me what you saw in Jules was not disgust, she was just as stunned as you, I'm sure her reaction was only because Sam, Alex and I were stupid enough to applaud when the song ended. That was what caused Jules to react like that, believe me. I can't speak for her, I know, but I know there was something there Lil. If we were in the bar and saw the same people that were there that night, they would tell you the same thing. You too were incredible together, you glowed, the sexual tension was explosive, more than one must have gotten horny just looking at you two, it was perfect and that kiss wasn't just any kiss. My God, Lil you can't tell me that you don't recognize when someone is kissing you with desire. If Jules hadn't wanted to do it, she wouldn't have. She doesn't look like the type that would do something she didn't want to do. Believe me sweetie, she wanted it." She finished her speech, her arms open as if pleading to the skies that Lil would believe her.
"You think?" Lil didn't finish the sentence. Kelly blew out an impatient breath. Hadn't she listened to anything she had just said?
"I don't think, I saw. Come on Lil, shower, get dressed and go look for her, even if it's only so she can tell you to your face that it's not the case or whatever she may have to say to you. You can't just stay here wanting to die for something that is probably not even true. Go on." She pulled and pushed her to the bathroom.
"I'm going to make some coffee and don't make faces, you haven't slept in almost three days, and I'm not letting you drive my RAV in your condition."
Lil was ready in record time; she drank the coffee Kelly gave her making faces the whole time. She hated coffee, but once she drank it she had to admit she felt more awake and alert.
"Drop me off at work, and don't worry about the RAV, Alex will pick me up." Well she will after I speak with her and tell her, she thought happily. What a perfect excuse to be able to see her again, she hadn't been able to stop thinking of her since she had met her.
Kelly drove to work, and then when she got out she gave Lil a hug and kiss on the forehead.
"Go claim your warrior's heart!" She teased.
"Warrior?" Lil said a little uncertainly, but for some reason it sounded right.
"Hahaha, it's just a joke, from the first moment I saw those three walking towards us I imagined them as a trio of Amazon warriors or something like that." Kelly blushed, yeah her friend knew all about her, but there were certain things that she never told her, and one of those was a secret fantasy of seeing Alex as an Amazon warrior. She would look so damn hot, but her fantasies she kept to herself, those you just didn't share with your friends. They were only meant to be between you and your girlfriend, that is if you found one that met the requisites. Moreover, Alex covered each and every one.
Lil for the first time in three days laughed heartily. "You are such a prev."
"Hahaha, and your point?" She winked and gave her a crooked grin, causing Lil to laugh once more. "Go on, get outa here." She watched as Lil drove off then turned and ran inside. She was running a half an hour late. Her boss would be furious.
Jules was in a very bad mood. She had not been able to forget Lil, those delicious lips, the perfect body molded to hers, her warmth, the softness of her hands, the smell of her skin.
"Damn it all." She growled under her breath when she hit herself with a barbell she was lifting, She had tried everything she could think of to forget what Lil had made her feel in just a few moments. She had made her feel alive like never before in her life, enough to make her forget for a moment that nothing else existed but the two of them; and she wanted more, much more, something she had never thought she'd have.
She got up from the bench and after removing the weights, she headed to her office. She had a class in half an hour and it wasn't very professional to show up smelling like a deodorant ad.
Alex intercepted her on her way to the office. She and Kelly had been keeping in contact since Saturday night's fiasco. Kelly told her that her friend was having a bad time, and that's why she did not hesitate to confide in her about Jules condition. It was obvious that these two were made for each other, but knowing that and convincing Jules who seemed to be convinced to the contrary was something different.
"So you still are dragging around moping?" She pushed, knowing that the only way to get a reaction out of Jules was to push her buttons and make her loose her temper.
"Shut up Alex, I'm warning you, I'm not in the mood for you're stupid games!" Jules grumbled almost running her over.
"Oh come on Juliette, what are you gonna do? You gonna hit me? Why? For telling you the truth? You look like death warmed over, you have the biggest bags under your eyes you're scaring everyone and all because of a little innocent blonde that has stolen your heart, but you're too much of a damn coward to admit it!" Alex looked discreetly to the side looking for a quick way out should Jules lose it and really try to beat her.
"Shut you're fucking traps Alex!" She screamed totally losing it and when she was about to throw herself at Alex a voice as familiar as her own stopped her.
"Juliette St. Claire, what a mouth you have! Mama would be turning in her grave if she heard you!"
Alex turned to see her best friend's exact replica walk in. She thanked God that Jace had walked in when she did. Jace winked as Jules turned to face her twin.
"Jace!" Jules exclaimed taken completely by surprise at seeing her sister there.
She was supposed to be in NYC wasn't she? Her anger completely disappeared. "What are you doing here? Why didn't you tell me you were coming, I would have gone to pick you up at the airport. How long will you be staying?"
"Haha, take a breath will you JJ, it wouldn't be a surprise if I had told you right? Well, I see that you were about to pound Alex, why don't you go take a shower and take me to lunch and you can tell me what's going on, ok? I'm sure Alex can cover for you, right Alex?" She arched her brow in exactly the same way as her twin, one that could make you shake in fear.
"Oh, sure no problem, whatever you need. Go on JJ." She smiled innocently. Jules glared at her as she headed to her office.
"Thanks Jace, I thought I was about to die." She wiped her forehead as if she were removing beads of sweat.
"When are you going to learn not to provoke her?" She scolded disapprovingly.
"It's the only way to make her come out of her palace of ice in which she hides, ever since Mika. I'm sure she'll tell you what's going on. Neither Sam nor I have been able to get her to tell us, she met someone and she's been scared stiff ever since.
Jace narrowed her eyes intrigued. She nodded, "Ok, tell her I'll be waiting outside. This place makes me sweat just standing here." She shook herself and Alex laughed. Just as Jules was the epitome of physical condition, Jace was completely opposite. It wasn't that she wasn't physically fit, after all, she was almost identical physically to her twin, less physically defined obviously, but the difference was that she ran to keep in shape.
Lil was just driving into the parking lot when she saw Jules coming out, thinking she was about to leave she threw the RAV into park in the middle of the lot Without turning it off the ignition she threw open the door and ran to intercept Jules who stopped and stared at her strangely. Before she lost her courage, Lil threw her arms around her and kissed her passionately. She had to know, she needed to know!
Jace stood petrified, then after the initial surprise, she pushed Lil away keeping her at a distance with her arms. She looked at her totally dumbfounded and barely had time to open her mouth to tell her she wasn't Jules, when the blonde looked at her as if she had been struck. She covered her mouth as if to stifle a scream then took off running and jumped into the RAV and spinning the tires peeled out of the parking lot. Five seconds later Jules came out and found her sister looking shocked, hurrying towards her. She had heard a car peeling out but couldn't see who it was. At the same time that Jules approached her sister, Alex came out looking both ways, seeing the sisters, she ran towards them, just catching part of Jace's conversation.
"A small blonde, she must have confused me with you and thought that you were leaving or something because without turning off the car she jumped out, threw herself at me and kissed me. It took me a few seconds to react and when I pushed her away she must have seen my expression of shock because she covered her mouth and ran back the to the car and left?Jules, what the hell did you do this time?"
"I didn't?" She began to protest. "Oh God." She gasped when she realized whom the blonde was she was talking about and the only one who would have done that.
"Jules, Kelly just called and said that Lil was coming over to clear things up with you. From what she told me she's convinced that you aren't interested in her" Alex said hurriedly. Jules face was pale.
"I have to find her; I have to talk to her! Oh boy!" Jules was beginning to hyperventilate, the very idea of hurting Lil was to overwhelming and she had already done it twice. Even though this time it wasn't on purpose. Lil wasn't aware she had an identical twin and that she had been visiting just at the moment.
"Calm down JJ." Her sister's voice sounded firm but warm. "JJ, it was just a misunderstanding and if I have to personally go and clear it up myself I will. But you have to calm down."
"I have to go see her!" Insisted Jules, she took a deep breath and tried to focus her energies properly, she closed her eyes and breathed in and out a couple of times holding each breath a few seconds to control it.
Alex passed her a piece of paper and for a moment didn't know what she was looking at.
"It's Lil's address, she didn't go to work, she hasn't in the last three days, she has permission, go look for her and for God's sake Jules stop running!"
Jules looked into Alex's eyes and they exchanged a silent peace offering. Alex was right.
Since she already had the keys to her Pathfinder, she ran towards it, Jace yelled at her not to worry about her. Either Sam or Alex would take her home. Jules nodded and left in search of Lil. From the moment they had met, it had been one misunderstanding after another, even without knowing that Lil was Little Dreamer. That and her fear of letting anyone into her heart. She had been so stupid, but she would fix that, she cared about Lil and wanted an opportunity to get to know her. No one had made her feel the way Lil did, no one.
Jules arrived before Lilith to her apartment. She knocked several times but no one answered. She looked around and didn't see the RAV parked anywhere along the street. Nevertheless, she would wait for her all day if need be. The tall woman couldn't know that Lil had to stop several times to try to calm down, but just when she thought she had it under control she remember Jules and she'd lose the battle again. Finally, without even realizing it she pulled into her street. On automatic pilot, she parked the RAV and without looking around headed up the stairs to her apartment. Jules saw her arrive and stood up from the steps leading to the apartment. Lil finally realized there was someone in her path and looked up. For a moment she stood petrified. She watched in slow motion as Jules moved down towards her, for just a moment she thought of running not sure if she could face another rejection. Nevertheless, Jules took her by the shoulders, noticing the reddened eyes and swollen face and pulled her into her arms. Lil for a moment let herself be held then suddenly realized that this same woman had pushed her away not more than an hour ago and tried to pull away, but Jules held on to her tightly.
"No Lil, no, it's time to stop running, please!" She said in a strangled voice through her own tears, which she hadn't realized were pouring down her face and didn't really care.
"But I went to see you." She said between sobs. "I went and you?"
"It wasn't me Lil, it wasn't me." She hugged her tighter as if she could meld them together.
Lil somehow managed to find the strength to pull away.
"How can you say that? I'm not crazy!" She cried in pain.
"I have a twin sister, identical twin sister Lil. It was her who you kissed; Jace told me everything when I went out a few seconds after you left. We were going to have lunch, she came down from NYC." Jules desperately explained, needing Lil to give her another chance. "She arrived today to surprise me."
Lil looked at her not sure whether to believe her or not. Searching in her eyes for the truth, she didn't see anything but profound emotion and fear, a lot of fear.
"Let's go inside Lil, let me explain please." Jules pleaded. She had never in her life pleaded with anyone and now she was begging and surprisingly she it didn't seem to matter.
Lil consented and headed up the stairs towards her apartment. She was trembling all the way and she wasn't sure what to do or say, her mind was a tangle of confusion and emotions.
Lil's hands trembled as they tried to open the door. Jules noticed and took the keys opening the door for her. Although she was just as emotional as or more so than Lil. Lil had awakened feelings in her that she thought were long forgotten and dead. As soon as they stepped through the door, Lil let herself drop into the sofa not able to hold herself up any longer. She didn't know where the normally centered and rational woman that she was had gone. Jules St. Claire had turned her world upside down.
Jules noticed Lil sitting with her shoulders hunched and hands tightened into fists between her legs. Almost as if Lil was afraid to look at her. Her heart broke at the knowledge that she was the one that had caused her pain. She knew that even though she and Lil really didn't know much about each other, had in fact only been together three times, she could not deny how she felt about her. Even though she had tried everything in her power, she could not get her out of her mind. She wanted Lil, she wanted her as much as she wanted to live, and the feeling was so powerful. Moreover, she knew that if she tried to deny it any longer she'd be lost forever.
"With that decision now firmly in mind she took a deep breath and looked a Lil one more time before dropping down to her knees in front of her.
"Lil look at me." She took her hands and waited patiently for Lil to look at her, but Lil seemed reluctant to do so, she released one of her hands and with it raised the blonde's face. However, Lil's eyes remained closed refusing to look at her. With a sigh of frustration, Jules again asked her to look at her. "Lil please look at me."
Jules soft and warm voice was like the siren song for Lil who couldn't fight its lure. She opened her tear-filled eyes and like every other time that her eyes met Jules, she fell into them instantly. The dark woman smiled, drinking in the librarian's beauty, which was obvious she herself was not aware of.
"Do you have any idea what you make me feel?" She said in a tortured whisper, Lil could only shake her head negatively. "You should. You're the reason that? my life?at least I thought it was perfect until I got on this rollercoaster with you." She laughed at herself. Lil looked at her without saying anything; she still wasn't sure what Jules true intentions were for being there. Lil for once in her life was speechless and didn't know what to say.
"There is something I have to confess, and I want you to know I didn't know until you mentioned it last Saturday in class." Lil looked disconcerted.
"What are you talking about?"
"Do you remember when you said that horrible woman RunRivergrrrl was right?"
"Yes, Kelly dared me; she said I was incapable of taking such adventures. So I wrote the woman that put the ad in the personals and when she answered me she said the same thing Kelly did but with crueler words. Later she apologized but by then I had already decided to show my friend and myself that I was capable.
Jules agreed, even without knowing whom Lil was she would say without fear that it was true, she and Kelly had been wrong. The blonde was very capable and with the proper training would be a good kayaker. She took a deep breath to give herself courage without looking away from Lil.
"I'm that horrible woman." She confessed. Lil jumped off the sofa pulling away brusquely from Jules who was still holding her hand, moving away as far as possible.
"What! All this has just been a joke? Have you had your fun? Is it your hobby to play with a person's feelings? Make fools of them?" She accused glaring at her in anger and pain.
"Lil, you aren't listening, I didn't know you were Little Dreamer. I might have been able to guess on your first day of class but I wasn't there remember? I didn't read your profile; Alex only gave me the necessary details. I didn't even know that you lived in St. Paul until I saw you at Milano's; and you told me that you had never kayaked before." She defended herself heatedly. She knew that whatever happened between them depended on Lil believing in her ignorance of her real identity. "If you hadn't said anything who knows if I ever would have found out, I just don't know."
"And when did you realize that it would be fun to teach me a lesson? Is that why you kissed me at the bar?"
"No, Lil, no!" I kissed you because I wanted to, I kissed you because I had no other option, and I had to do it. I needed to do it. Lil?" She tried to get close to her, but Lil kept moving back and Jules let out a frustrated growl. She moved away and began pacing back and forth in the small living room. "It's been over three years that I date anyone, much less look at anyone. I've dedicated myself to work, training and making JAS the best place in the whole state. Alex and Sam are intent on finding me a girlfriend, always trying to set me up. The ad was Alex and Sam's not mine, just another attempt to get me interested in someone. When I found out I was furious?"
"And that's why you wrote all those hateful words?" Lil interrupted her in a hurt voice, "so you could get even with your friends?"
"No, no, I'm not going to deny that I was upset at them, but when I responded to the message I did it only with the intention to make you see that it wasn't something to take lightly. I agree that my words were a bit harsh, but I apologized, I already told you. Moreover, the ones that I did answer I only did because they looked serious about outdoor sports so I recommended JAS. I haven't met a single one of them despite the fact that the girls have tried to get me to meet them. And they don't know that you were one of them, for Christ's sake I didn't even know." She ruffled her hair. Breathed deeply once again before continuing. "They feel that I've shut myself away for far too long. I just always thought that was the best thing for me. I had been hurt by my ex's infidelities. And I suppose she hurt my ego more than anything else, because I realized I never really loved her. Since then I haven't dated, I stopped looking at women, not even to notice if they were attractive or not. They ceased to exist for me. Moreover, my life was simple, go to work, give classes, travel and my sister. Nothing else.
Lil continued to stare at her without saying a word, wondering where Jules was going with her explanation, what did it have to do with her?
"And that's the way it was until I met you." Jules noticed how Lil pulled back as if she had been pushed. "That's right Lil, I know that I didn't show it, yes, I know that I was always the professional at your side, but the truth is I did notice you. I denied it to myself to be honest, but from the first moment, that I saw myself reflected in your eyes I was lost. Or is it that you think that I take care of all my students as I do you? Do you think I carry them in my arms and I assure myself that they are alright for sport?" She laughed at herself. "No Lil, I don't, Alex must have realized something was going on, because she never lost the opportunity to hassle me about it. That day that you hugged her, it bothered me. Why did you do it I asked myself? And when Alex began to say you were cute and that maybe she'd try to court you I almost tore her head off. I had no real reason to do that right. You're my student I kept telling myself, what does it matter? But the truth was it was important. I didn't know what was happening to me, why I was feeling like this. Saturday night I went to the bar it was because I told myself that the reason I was feeling that way was that I had been alone for so long. And I just happened to pick the same bar where you were. You don't know how I felt when I saw you with Kelly and I thought she was your girlfriend! I nearly died from jealousy and that was driving me nuts. I kept telling myself there was no reason to feel that way, I was nothing to you I didn't even know if you were even attracted to me, but I still felt jealous."
"Why did you kiss me?" Lil asked shakely.
"Why? God Lil you were killing me! My whole being was clamoring for you, when you pulled away and looked into my eyes as we danced I was lost, I had to kiss you or die if I didn't do it.
"But you looked at me as if you were disgusted!" Lil accused.
"No it wasn't the kiss Lil, it was the most marvelous experience of my whole life, but I was afraid, what you were making me feel was overwhelming. For God's sake I kept telling myself it made no sense, I barely knew you my mind kept screaming. Then our friends decided to make a show of it and that took me by surprise, and then you ran away, and I didn't know what to do! I was too frightened of my feelings for you and didn't know how to react. These past few days have been hell Lil, you have to believe me, I debated between looking for you or staying away for fear of hurting you further.
"And why are you here?" Lil insisted. She had unconsciously gotten closer to Jules.
"Why? Because when Jace told me that you had been there and you had confused her for me, I knew that you were more courageous than I when you came searching for me and I wouldn't dare do the same. But I couldn't just let you run way again Lil." She looked into her eyes and took a few tentative steps closer to Lil who did the same towards her. "I don't know where this road will take us Lil, I don't know if it's a reflection of my solitude, I don't know if I'm going crazy, I don't know anything. However, I do know that ever since I met you I can't stop thinking about you, that when I see you something inside me clicks and everything makes sense. You make me feel things that I thought could never exist, feelings that I thought I knew but didn't. Lil I?"
Lil closed the distance remaining between them and placed her finger on her lips. Jules looked into her eyes trying to find answers. "Don't say it, it's not the right time, I know what you feel, I know it because my heart feels the same way. You're right, all this feels like some crazy dream that makes no sense. Nevertheless, the dream could be something wonderful and we are both crazy. And if we are both crazy I'd like to find my sanity with you." She caressed Jules face. Jules began to feel warm; she rubbed her face against the warm palm, letting a profound sigh escape.
"Together." Jules mused laughing happily, she felt as if the walls that she had built up around her heart had fallen like a house of cards. Lil not willing to wait any longer moved her hands around her neck and pulled the dark head down towards her lips. Jules did not resist and wrapped her arms around Lil's waist pulling her in close. Both let a profound sigh of delight escape when their bodies pressed one against the other. Jules caressed Lil's face with one had as they kissed. Heaven, I found heaven was all either one could think.
Neither of the two could see into the future, neither knew if being complete opposites if they would be able to find just the right medium to create something marvelous and eternal. There were still many questions and many answers to discover but they didn't need to be fortunetellers to know that their place was in each other's arms. Together they would overcome whatever obstacle.
I did it! Finally (sigh)
The song by Foreigner "I Want to Know What Love Is" was used without permission; there is no profit to be made.