Eliza was hanging signs up about 16’ in the air when she heard the melodic voice ask her friend in German “Do you think they have these in German” and they shared a laugh.
Eliza answered without even thinking “Ja, wir kann machen alles auf Deutsch” and continued hanging the few she had left to hang. She was up on a platform that raised her to the level she needed since she had an entire wall of signs to hang. Finishing the few she had left Eliza began to lower the machine its beeps could be heard throughout her little store. The astonished women that she had answered without thinking came into her view as the machine rested at the four foot level. She unbelted herself and using the little gate at one end of the machine she climbed adroitly down the ladder to the floor ending with a little bounce. Smiling at the two women who had unknowingly walked into her store today she wanted to laugh at the astonished looks that still were on their faces. Instead she greeted them “Guten Tag, kann ich helfen sie?” Good day, can I help you?
“Du sprichts Deutsch?” You speak German the pretty curly haired blonde one asked astounded.
Nodding at the obvious Eliza’s grin threatened to turn into a laugh as she answered “Ja, Ich spreche eine bisschen Deutsch” Yes, I speak a little German “aber nicht sehr gute and nicht sehr schnell” Not so good and not very fast. Might as well warn them ahead of time.
Switching to English the blonde smiled in return “impressive.”
Looking at the store with over 1000 signs hung Eliza had to agree, it was impressive and she nodded. She didn’t realize the blonde was admiring her and not the store. Eliza wore Levi’s and a polo shirt that read ‘ask me about a sign’ on one side and ‘hey, what’s your sign’ on the front. The back was taken up by a screen printed crossing sign that read ‘Sign Crew.’
“Are you looking for anything in particular?” Eliza asked, her gaze returning to the two women. “We do have German Parking Only signs” she laughed.
They joined in with her laugh. “Actually, if you have two of them we will take them” the curly blonde replied.
Going to one of the bins at the back of this section of the store Eliza perused until she came through the G bin and fingering the signs pulled out two German Parking Only signs. Putting them on the counter she asked “is there anything else you would like or would you like to look around for a while?”
The platinum blonde with the pin straight hair looked ready to go but the curly blonde walked up to the counter to pay the $30 that Eliza rang up on the register. “It’s not often we find someone who understands us when we speak in German” she offered hesitantly almost apologetically.
“Then you have to be careful what you say?” She laughed to show she was teasing “I studied German way back in high school, so what I know is a little out of date and probably I have forgotten more than I remembered.” Eliza took the $50 and made change.
“Is this your store?”
Nodding Eliza looked around. There were still a lot of open spaces but she had been filling those steadily but surely for days.
“Yes we just opened, I’ve been wanting to do this for years” she answered proudly.
“Why now?” the blonde asked curiously.
“Well, I finally qualified for a loan” Eliza admitted sheepishly. “I’ve been making these signs for like 20 years” she added.
“You make them?” the beautifully plucked eyebrows on the blonde raised high in astonishment “yourself?”
Nodding Eliza looked around the store with pride. She had been working towards this for a long time. She had tried having a store before but had been too sick to really make a go of it before; she was ready now, 10 years ready! There was still a lot to do and she intended to do it!
“Wow, you really have done a wonderful thing, these are so clever!” the blonde was looking admiredly at Eliza but she was oblivious as she looked around her store.
“Thank you” she answered absentmindedly. Then she looked, really looked at the blonde. Tall with aristocratic features, fine bones and very very pretty. She wore expensive clothes despite the summer heat. Very well put together. Already Eliza could spot the ‘types’ of tourists who visited this tourist town in Wisconsin. Wisconsin Dells was a mecca for tourist shops and the tourists loved to vacation there for the water, the waterparks, the beautiful scenic trails, the incredible cliffs, and just the whole vacation theme of the town. Nearby Lake Delton was the same, in fact the two towns seemed to be just one continuous town to the unknowing.
Eliza realized the look the woman was giving her was a little speculative and she couldn’t help but wonder herself. When a woman this attractive was checking her out she had to wonder if perhaps she was reading the ‘signs’ correctly. Smiling hopefully she held out her hand and said “Hi, I’m Eliza Schmidt, and this is my store.”
The beautiful blonde shook her hand warmly squeezing it slightly in response to the warm ‘American’ styled welcome. “Ich bin Grafin Krystal Von Der Konigin” not even realizing she was speaking in German it was so automatic.
“Grafin?” Eliza asked not sure of the word.
Nodding Krystal waited for something, apparently waiting for a comment, but when Eliza didn’t ask anything more she turned and beckoned the second woman, a platinum blonde and said “Das ist Aarika Schultz mein guter freund.”
Eliza shook Aarika’s hand as well. She looked between the two women wondering at their friendship and how good a friend Aarika really was. She didn’t realize that Krystal was watching her amused. “So how long are you two in town for?”
“Oh I don’t know it depends on what amuses us. We found out about the Dells only recently when we were in Chicago visiting friends.” Krystal switched to English effortlessly. Her accent was enchanting.
“Ah, then you should go ride the Ducks” Eliza told her with a grin. By the looks she got from both of her guests she had to laugh knowing they had totally misunderstood her. She wasn’t going to elaborate though, she was enjoying this too much.
“Are there any good clubs here in town?” Aarika thought to ask. She was eyeing Krystal and she noted the interest that she was showing on this store owner.
“Well it depends on what you are looking for but yes there are several.” Guessing at the age of her guests she made a suggestion “there is a nice 80’s club called Culture.”
“Culture?” asked Aarika frowning.
“Yes as in Culture Club, do you remember Boy George and his music?” Eliza waited for a telltale sign from either of them.
Krystal’s face lit up at the double entendre that had been thrown to them. “Yes, I enjoyed his music immensely. Do you go there often?”
Eliza grinned and shook her head. “No, I haven’t had time with the moving of my businesses down here and opening the store. But I hear it’s a good club if you like to dance.”
Krystal smiled and answered “I love to dance.”
Eliza grinned “Well, maybe I’ll see you there sometime; I’m due for some time off. All work and no play makes me very dull.”
Krystal liked that answer. “Yes, maybe we will see you there. Perhaps tonight we will go there.”
Aarika was done with their conversational play on words. She started heading for the door under the guise of looking at more of the signs on her way out. Krystal hesitated for only a moment as she gathered the bag Eliza had thoughtfully put her signs in as well as a business card.
“Thank you! Have a nice day.” Eliza grinned one last time. She watched Krystal the whole length of the store as she walked out and was caught as Krystal turned one last time to look back. Blushing she pretended to be looking through another carton of signs.
Another woman emerged from behind the wall at the back of the store that contained horizontal files on their sides which were full of signs. “Ah, we had a customer I see” she smiled.
Nodding absentmindedly Eliza shook herself and looked at Lynn. “Yes, that makes two today. I guess opening and unlocking the doors was a good idea even if we aren’t all set-up.”
Lynn laughed. Eliza had worked like crazy to get moved in and set up in just under a week. She had moved her entire warehouse from Wausau, Wisconsin into this store and divided it so that the production was done at the back and the front held stock and showcased what they made and sold. Her entire business had been primarily wholesale but she found she needed the input of the retail scene to keep growing and maintain a variety of products. She already made over 5000 different signs and was contemplating adding stickers and magnets. She wanted to make them herself though and the machinery to do it like she wanted cost more than her start up for this store so she was holding off to see how this went. She wanted to give it a year, maybe two to see how well it was received. If she got an offer to sell it all though she was prepared to move on as well. She was so excited about the prospect though, this had been a real achievement and a hell of a gamble on her part. No one believed she could do it but she knew her product, had done every aspect of her business at one time or another and was now ready to prove it to herself, the hell with the naysayers and there were a lot of them in the form of her family members.
Lynn was a good friend who was fed up with factory work. Carpal tunnel syndrome had caught up with her and she had jumped at the chance of moving out of Fairfield and working with Eliza. They had known each other since their college days. Eliza had thrown into the deal an apartment that Lynn was fixing up upstairs for part of her pay. The insurance and the benefits made it a sweet deal for her. Eliza was just grateful to have someone she could trust who believed in what she was doing. They would have to eventually hire another person or two as summer progressed but this town was full of people looking for work.
The fax machine went off as they were putting more stock on the shelves. Pulling the paper from the machine Eliza sighed in genuine regret. She had taken out several ads in several trade magazines and this was another request for a catalog. Everyone wanted a ‘free’ catalog but it was expensive to print as well as mail them out. With over 5000 signs people didn’t realize it. It was the wholesale side of her business though and she couldn’t gripe, it made a lot of money for her despite the economy. Quickly typing the name into the computer she printed out an address label and attached it to the pre-printed oversized envelope she had ready. She had collated many catalogs in advance of these requests and pulled one to put in the envelope as well as price sheets and terms and conditions. Sticking a printed stamp on the envelope she dropped it into an oversized mailbox they had by the doorway for the mailman. With so much going on at least the poor mailperson knew where to pick up and drop off the mail in this establishment.
The day grew busier as tourists vacated their hotels and began shopping or taking advantage of the various amusements the town had to offer. There were so many that a one day trip wasn’t sensible unless you lived within a few hours distance. The hotels were already doing a booming business and Eliza had wanted to start her summer off right. She had gotten the loan and a week later had driven to the Dells to look at properties. It was fortunate that she had been persistent as this one barely had become vacant and she snatched it up immediately. The ensuing move had been achieved in two stages, first the business, then her personal items. She had hired big strong guys who wanted a quick buck but knew her through friends and were willing to lift all the heavy stuff for her. And there was a lot of heavy stuff! Aluminum was not light, especially in mass quantities.
Finding a place to live hadn’t been easy but she had driven around looking for ‘for rent’ signs. Most were for ‘vacation’ rentals and were overpriced but she found one that was a ‘rent to own’ and intrigued had pursued it. The little old lady who owned the property was thrilled that Eliza appreciated her little gem and had allowed her to sign a one year lease nearly on the spot. Eliza was thrilled with the three bedroom bungalow she had to live in. She had been considering the apartment upstairs but had been happy to give that to Lynn to sweeten their deal. She hadn’t relished the idea of living on the premises anyway, she would never have gone home at night. She needed the definite break from home and work.
All day in between helping customers Eliza hung signs. The beeping of her lift could be heard and it was driving Lynn nuts but the signs had to be hung and neither of them could have been on a ladder that tall. Eliza had acquired a really cool extendible bar that could unhang up to 12’ but the lift was necessary to the 16’ and 20’ heights. Eliza hadn’t hung any signs above the 16’ height instead leaving that for banners and promotional items. Finally though by the end of the day all the top signs were hung and she could put away the lift in its corner. It was available if they really needed to remove a sign from the high walls she had hung with grid wall.
By seven they were both exhausted and ready to call it a day. All day long though Eliza had thought about the interesting German woman she had met that morning and wondered if she was too tired to go to the club. She hadn’t socialized in years and knew she was due for some fun. With only her and Lynn though she couldn’t afford to be tired all the time. Debating it back and forth all day she decided not to go. Heading home that night she was all set to put away her car and crawl into bed when she thought, ah what the heck. What’s the difference if I sit in bed for a few hours watching TV or reading a book or go to Culture for a few hours? She knew deep down though the real reason she was going was her interest in the German blonde.
She quickly showered being careful not to get her hair wet. Pulling out the pins that held it back in its long pony tail she brushed it out enjoying it’s beautiful length, her pride and joy. She knew her hair made her look beautiful, noticeable but she also knew the hard work it made for her. She figured a couple of more years and she would have to keep it short as she would have enough gray then that it would look gross. Meanwhile she enjoyed the attention it garnered. It had a lovely red brown hugh with blonde highlights and it’s natural curl made it look lovely. Few people probably believed any of it was natural but she had it this way for thirty years and no one could color it or curl it that convincingly.
She quickly shaved and primped freshening her makeup and putting on perfume before dressing in a little black dress with a matching shawl. Putting on some jewelry she took one last look in the mirror and was pleased with what she saw. As she had gotten older her looks had matured. She had been a plain Jane for as long as she remembered but the last few years something had changed. Perhaps it was maturity, perhaps she had grown into her looks, maybe it was confidence but suddenly and surprising she was now beautiful. A new exercise program this last year and changing her eating habits had slimmed down her figure that now she got second looks where before that was maybe only a first look. She knew that she was in her prime now and was enjoying her body and looks for the first time in her life. Not conceited in any way she took pleasure in knowing that she felt and looked good.
With all that in mind she was at the club by 9. Paying her entrance fee she began to weave her way through the crowd. She was surprised that it was crowded at 9 already but then this was the Midwest, it wasn’t like the coasts where partying started at midnight and went until 5am. They still rolled up the sidewalks in places at 9 here! Too funny. Looking around she began checking out the bars and finding one that was fairly centrally located she ordered a sloe screw. As she would be driving later she sipped this as she people watched. Two guys asked her to dance and she thanked both of them but declined. It was nearly 10 before she spotted Aarika dancing on the floor with one of the men she had turned down! She immediately began looking around for Krystal but didn’t see her. Had she misinterpreted the interest that was so transparent? She hoped not! Just then she felt a tap on her shoulder and she turned.
Staring her right in the face was the aristocratic beauty she had thought about all day. Wow was she dressed hot! She had put her hair up and the lines of her neck reminded Eliza of a beautiful Arabian horse. She was so clean cut and sleek! Taking all this in at a glance Eliza grinned and said “Guten Abend!”
Krystal smiled at Eliza’s use of German “Guten Abend” she answered in her smooth lilting voice. “So you came?” she asked in English.
“Yes, I couldn’t pass up a chance to have some fun” Eliza answered as she admired the beauty before her.
“I thought perhaps you would be too tired?”
Nodding Eliza had to agree with her, she was tired, she was exhausted but she was also interested in this woman before her and couldn’t pass up the chance to get to know her better. “I am tired, I’m exhausted really, but I guess I’ll sleep when I’m dead.” She answered quoting a popular song.
“Well then we will have to make sure you have that fun you were looking for” Krystal smiled again as she admired what Eliza was wearing. She had incredible legs that had been hidden under the jeans she had been wearing in the store this morning. Now in her little black dress she looked very inviting. Krystal could look right down it with her heels and additional height and it wanted or screamed ‘look at me’ and Eliza filled it out in all the right places. Krystal loved the way her hair looked she wanted to run her fingers through it, imagining how soft it would feel in her hands. She reached out her hand to take Eliza’s in her own “come on, let’s dance!”
Eliza tossed off the rest of her drink and left the glass on the bar before allowing Krystal to pull her towards the dance floor. She really should have eaten something earlier the drink was already relaxing her way too much but she was feeling good and she definitely wanted to dance with Krystal. As they both began to rock to the beat she admired the way Krystal moved. She was a pretty good dancer herself and enjoyed swaying to the music in front of the woman she found so interesting. The next song was a slow dance and Krystal never hesitated as she gathered Eliza into her arms to move right against her. Eliza thought really hard about the fact that she should have eaten something this was happening way too fast and she was too relaxed already. Having this sexy woman in her arms already was giving her ideas that were at least a couple of dates away. She was enjoying it though and she could smell the wonderful perfume that Krystal was wearing as she held her close.
Krystal couldn’t believe how receptive Eliza was to her advances already. Given she was an American and probably thought Krystal was just having a holiday fling she was used to women giving off certain signs and Eliza wasn’t a quick lay. She had tried pushing the limit with the slow dance sure that she would object but instead she not only found Eliza willing but compliant. They danced wonderfully together. She caught Aarika’s eye as she danced chastely with some guy and grinned. Aarika gave her ‘I can’t believe you’ look shaking her head. Krystal found herself dancing a little more closer than she would have normally and perhaps brushing suggestively. Eliza didn’t object and Krystal heard her despite the loud music change her breathing.
Eliza pulled back enough to ask “are you trying to drive me insane?”
Doing her best to look innocent and failing miserably Krystal asked “what? Who me?” But she did back off a fraction.
Grinning Eliza was a little tipped but not drunk and certainly not unaware of what Krystal had been doing already. Although it was a little soon and they didn’t know each other well enough she was becoming aroused by this beautiful woman in her arms. She tried at least to maintain her dignity while still welcoming the body language the woman was giving her. It had been so long since she had been with anyone but the instant attraction she had felt towards Krystal surprised her. She knew for Krystal it would just be a fling and no big deal but Eliza wasn’t built that way. She didn’t do one night stands. She had more respect for her body. It was fun though playing the game and she hoped harmless.
Krystal tried to pull Eliza closer if that was possible. When her hand at Eliza’s back dipped a little low though Eliza pulled back with a look that said Krystal had gone too far and she let her go, for now. Krystal began telling Eliza about their trip that had started in New York and then gone on to Chicago. How friends had mentioned the Dells and on impulse she and Aarika had come up to see the sights. Eliza was surprised that they weren’t German but Austrian, but then it was a natural assumption since Austrian’s spoke German.
Eliza began telling Krystal about her move into the store and a little about her business. Krystal was surprised to find she had been making signs for over 20 years for herself and a couple of years for someone else. She had quite a work ethic and despite the bad economy it had raised her family on the profits. Krystal was also surprised when Eliza told her she had two sons in college, she didn’t look that old but when Eliza confided she had started young Krystal assumed that was why because Eliza didn’t look very old. She guessed her to be at the most 36 to her own 37 which would mean she started at least at 16 maybe if her sons were just in college.
They couldn’t talk during the disco songs but they did dance five straight before they sat out and chatted finding more and more in common and intrigued about the other. Krystal found herself very attracted by the sheen of sweat on Eliza’s brow, Eliza found Krystal and the things she had done to be fascinating as they talked and talked. Eliza didn’t realize the passage of time until she looked at her phone and realized it was nearly midnight.
“I’m sorry to say I’m going to have to be going” she told Krystal reluctantly. She had really enjoyed herself and regretted having to leave but she had to get some sleep before her full day tomorrow and she desperately needed her sleep!
“I’m sorry as well, can I come with you?” Krystal asked on impulse.
Turning her head slightly Eliza looked at her looking for hidden meanings. They had enjoyed their witty repartee for the most part and she didn’t know if it was fatigue or what she wasn’t sure how to take the question. “Krystal, I really like you but are you asking if I will take you home?” She didn’t do that!
Krystal wasn’t sure if she had scared this intriguing American off. Eliza had surprised her with the amount of sophistication she showed. She was articulate, well read, and very intelligent. She did want to get to know her better and calling their evening short was not what she wanted in the least. “I don’t necessarily mean it like that, unless you’d like to and then we could at least discuss it, but I really like you too and want to get to know you better.”
“I don’t take strangers home and have one night stands” Eliza told her stiffly.
“No, no, it’s not like that. I swear. I don’t do that either.” Here Krystal paused not sure how to articulate what she meant, she only knew that she hadn’t enough time to get to know this woman and she hadn’t enjoyed herself like this in a long long time. Her life was full of opportunities for one night stands and she hadn’t been one to take anyone up on that offer, ever. Her world was full of casual sex and that wasn’t what she wanted at all. “I want to just get to know you better” she finished lamely.
Eliza understood, or rather she thought she did. She thought quickly, getting to know this lovely woman better and losing precious sleep that she needed badly or going home alone and knowing she might not get that precious sleep because of thinking about this woman. Deciding that life offered few chances she could make up her sleep another time and nodded “yes, if you would like to come home with me, I’d like that.”
They discussed that Eliza would drive Krystal back in the morning before she opened the store. That they might ‘sleep’ together but both understood that it was going to be sleep and not sex that was implied. As they both made it clear it relaxed the situation that they had unintentionally made tense. Aarika had come and gone from their table periodically during the night and just then she walked up again.
“Aarika, Eliza is going to take me home so we can talk the night away” Krystal grinned. “She will bring me back to the hotel in the morning.”
“Are you crazy? You barely know this woman!” Aarika glared at the two of them as she made herself heard over the rock beat.
“No no, it’s not like that!” Krystal tried to reassure her friend “we don’t want the evening to end and we do want to chat.”
Aarika didn’t believe her friend and let her know in no uncertain terms that she didn’t believe the ‘chat’ part at all.
“Aarika, we just want to get to know one another better, relax, I’m a big girl!”
Eliza butted in at that point “Aarika, It’s not that far from my store where I live” with that she took out a business card from her purse and turning it over she grabbed a pen and wrote some things on the back. “Here is my business card and my address and phone number on the back. You can even call it now to see that my cell picks up. I am an honest person and no harm will come to Krystal.”
Aarika was surprised as she read the card. She went to object and Eliza beat her to it.
“Yes, I could have made up the address but not the cell number and you can phone it now.”
Krystal grinned at her friend. How much more fair could Eliza be? Yes they barely knew each other but Eliza was being forthright and honest and providing Aarika with the information she needed to get a hold of both of them if something should come up, which it shouldn’t. Krystal sensed, she knew, that Eliza wasn’t an ax murderer and she hoped to get to know her better, that wasn’t a crime.
Aarika finished examining the card and looked up at Krystal. Studying her friends face for a moment she nodded and said “ok, I’ll catch a taxi when I’m ready to go back to the hotel.”
Krystal hugged her friend and turned to Eliza “ok, let’s go.”
Eliza nodded to Aarika and gave her a small grin as she and Krystal left the club.
Krystal was pleasantly surprised at the Mitsubishi Spider convertible that Eliza was driving. It was a cute little car and Eliza didn’t bother putting the top down as she drove it expertly away from the club. Going over the bridge through town which was now very quiet she headed for a more residential area off the strip and was soon pulling into a quiet neighborhood. She explained to Krystal how lucky she had been to find this little bungalow and Krystal was enchanted as they pulled into the driveway. It was a neat little find with welcoming windows and white trim on a powder blue house. Eliza explained it had three bedrooms, two upstairs one downstairs that she had converted into a den/office. Unlocking the door she showed Krystal the efficient little kitchen, the living room, and the den before taking her upstairs and showing her the large master bedroom and the smaller guest room.
“Would you like to use the bathroom up here, I can lend you some night clothes?” Eliza asked.
Nodding Krystal headed for the bathroom as Eliza handed her some satin pajamas from her dresser. Taking out some satin ones for herself she waited until Krystal had closed the bathroom door and quickly stripped off her dress, slip, underwear, and pantyhose. Pulling on the pajamas she quickly put her clothes in the hamper by her door. Slipping back downstairs she quickly removed her makeup with soap and water and used the brush she kept there to brush out her long hair. She felt she looked very plain at the moment but oh well. She heard the water from upstairs and quickly washed herself and brushed her teeth. Heading back up the narrow bungalow steps she met Krystal as she came out of the bathroom. Looking at her she was surprised to see Krystal without her own makeup and pleased how pretty she still looked with a sprinkling of freckles across the bridge of her nose. Krystal was surprised to see Eliza without her own makeup and in satin pajamas already. She had hurried since she thought Eliza was waiting to use the bathroom.
Eliza felt a little awkward. Although they had agreed to ‘sleep’ together it wasn’t like a sleep over from grade school days and she wasn’t certain what to do with this grown woman in her room. Although she had been with women before, never one on such short acquaintance. Krystal solved her moment of awkwardness by coming across the room and taking her in her arms as though they were going to dance. They did in fact sway there to some unspoken music and Eliza liked the feel of this woman in her arms. They both must have felt the moment as they kissed. Eliza was surprised at how good that kiss felt and quickly opened her mouth to deepen it. Krystal was surprised at how good a kisser Eliza was and enjoyed the fact that Eliza quickly deepened it. Krystal got her earlier wish as her hands delved into Eliza’s long hair. Eliza cupped Krystal’s head to hold it in place so her mouth could play with Krystal’s lips. They both enjoyed their first kiss together so much that it continued into a second and third before they even realized it. Finally though they pulled back in amazement and looked deeply into each other’s faces to read what was unspoken there.
Krystal was the first to break the silence “I don’t know what it is about you but I’ve been drawn to you from the moment I met you in your store. I don’t want you to think I do this regularly, getting into strange women’s beds.”
Shaking her head Eliza answered honestly “No, I don’t think that at all, I too have felt strangely drawn to you. I haven’t slept with a woman in two years and I worried that it was just sexual that I was feeling towards you, but I am so very attracted to you it’s almost painful.”
Krystal hesitated and then asked “how many partners have you had?” She was still holding Eliza in her arms and they were about six inches apart. Her hands were gently caressing Eliza’s shoulders and arms as she looked into her face as they talked.
“Two, only two, ever. That is women. I’ve been with two men before that and one was my ex-husband who gave me my two sons.” Eliza answered and then asked “and how many partners have you had?” Her own hands were caressing Krystal’s back using her fingertips and short nails to good effect.
“I’ve been with four women in my life and those were fairly long commitments but I haven’t been with anyone in nearly a year” Krystal admitted almost sheepishly.
“Why not? You’re a beautiful woman, what’s wrong with you?” Eliza asked in a teasing manner but was genuinely surprised. Krystal was a catch, anyone would be grateful to be with her.
Smiling at the compliment Krystal thought and then answered “I’m fairly picky, I don’t do casual. The first one was my ‘experiment’ and then I realized I really was a lesbian and we enjoyed learning with each other but then after a year realized neither of us was ready for a commitment and we went our separate ways, amicably. That was when I was 18. I dated some men but not one of them have I ever wanted to sleep with. I tried but couldn’t make myself have sex with any of them. Kissing and caressing by them felt invasive and I finally stopped trying that after a few years.” She grinned ruefully, acknowledging she had at least tried.
“If you have never been with a man then what about the daughter you mentioned earlier?” Eliza asked naively.
“Oh, that was my third girlfriend and my idea. We thought it would be terrific if we had a child together, we planned to get married but by the time I got pregnant she lost interest. It was kind of sad but there you have it and once I was pregnant I certainly wasn’t going to get rid of it and I love my daughter, she is terrific, her name is Selena.”
Enjoying children Eliza asked “how old is she?” she could see the genuine pride in Krystal’s voice as they talked.
“Ah, she is two now” she said with a smile.
Thinking quickly Eliza she mentally counted off on her fingers and asked “wait, you said you had four relationships, one is missing?”
“Ah, three were just relationships, one was a marriage. I married a wonderful woman several years back but she died” at this revelation Krystal hung her head a little, Eliza could see the genuine regret when she continued “I don’t consider her ‘just’ a relationship, I loved her incredibly and she was taken from me.”
Softly Eliza asked “how did she die?”
“It was a freak avalanche in the Alps where we were skiing. She got caught and I was rescued. Sometimes I wonder if I should have died there.” Eliza could hear the catch in Krystal’s voice and pulled her close for a hug. She didn’t want their conversation to cause her pain.
“I’m sorry, you obviously loved her very much, I didn’t mean to hurt you by my questions.” Eliza told her sadly.
Pulling back Krystal looked at her to see the genuine sorrow for her and appreciated her understanding. It still hurt, it would always hurt. This wasn’t the time or the place though. “Her name was Selena; I named my daughter after her in her honor. My little Selena is nothing like the woman I married.” She laughed ruefully. “In fact, she would be angry with me for naming my daughter after her but she would also find it wonderfully ironic.” She smiled remembering the woman who was long gone, who she sometimes had trouble visualizing anymore, who’s picture was all she had left of her besides her memories.
Gently Eliza kissed her. This sweet action more than anything else melted Krystal on the spot. Her knees began to buckle as the kiss deepened. Firmly she changed her thoughts. Pulling back slightly she asked “what about you? Why two men, why two women? What happened?”
“Ah for that we should sit down.” Eliza pulled from Krystal’s embrace to pull down the bedspread and then the blanket. Reaching across she flicked the blanket and cover sheet down on Krystal’s side and invited playfully with a pat on that side. Krystal got into the bed and pulled the cover sheet up to her waist. Leaning back against two comfy pillows she waited for Eliza to continue her story. Eliza got in on the left side of the bed and pulled the cover sheet up as well. Using the sheet as a distraction she began her own recital “I was with my first man at 19. I was feeling depressed and down and very unsure of my teenage body. Men weren’t attracted to me and I never had considered a woman.” Her eyes flicked up to look at Krystal at that moment. “A friend introduced me to this man through her own boyfriend one day and we disliked each other at first sight. I don’t remember to this day how it happened but I allowed him to have sex with me that night and take my virginity. It was a mess, I bled for several days after that. My friend said the bed looked like someone had been murdered. Needless to say it was not a good first experience.” Swallowing Eliza continued. “A year later I met my husband. He seemed like a good man, young but hard working. I was wrong on several accounts. Being naive and hoping to love someone who would take care of me, provide for me, and give me a happily ever after I put my trust in the wrong man. He took advantage of my naiveté and got me pregnant so I would have to marry him. He seemed to resent that he wasn’t my ‘first’ and that I wasn’t a virgin when he met me. He then proceeded to abuse me until I had no self-esteem left. Once he had me with the two children his abuse continued until finally I had to get out and I took the children and ran to protective services. The ensuing divorce was nasty but what he didn’t know is that I had written down in my diaries what he had done and when, there was a carefully kept log of all his abuses and the worst of them corresponded with hospital visits. He was lucky not to be arrested. I was lucky that he didn’t want visitation rights once his abuse became public knowledge and his reputation ruined in our little town. Man, was he angry, I thought I was going to die. Once the divorce was final I gathered what I had left and moved across the state to start over.” She stopped for a moment to let the bad memories pass before continuing.
Krystal leaned over and gently caressed her cheek, to remind her that it was over, she was with someone else now, or for the moment, and to offer her support. Eliza reached up and held the hand to her cheek for a moment before continuing.
“I was working with a sign company when I left him and I started making my own signs out of my garage when I moved. The company I had worked for went under and I began soliciting their accounts. The people who remembered me started to order and I began to grow, slowly but surely. My children started school and I found myself getting lonely. I didn’t really fit in with the other mothers but one stood out and we began to become friends. I found myself attracted to her but I was surprised to find she felt the same. Neither of us had been with another woman. We fell in love and discovered what each of us liked, what worked for us, we shared a house together until her daughter and my two sons were teenagers. We were gossiped about all around town and it became awkward for our children. Her daughter began a campaign to break us up and eventually it succeeded. Marg couldn’t take the stress and eventually she had to move out, she told me she wanted to be with men now and she proceeded to marry the first one that came along. They were married three months after she broke up with me. That was hurtful and we haven’t spoken since.”
“That’s terrible, you couldn’t reason with her?” Krystal asked.
Shaking her head Eliza had been watching Krystal’s kind face as she told her story. “I was so lonely and I realized I needed to be happy with me, one day I met a woman off the internet and we ended up going to lunch, that night I ended up in her bed but I wasn’t attracted to her, I was very lonely though. She and I ended up having awful sex. We tried dating for a while but she was more screwed up than me. I decided at that point that I wasn’t ever going to try casual sex again and to concentrate on my boys and business.” She grinned at Krystal “and then today in walks a beautiful woman who blew all my good intentions out the window with her smile” she leaned forward for a kiss “and I find myself wondering how someone I am so attracted to, could wind up in my bed to just ‘talk?’”
Krystal laughed, she had been wondering the same, if she were insane to agree to come home with this woman, if she were insane ‘just to talk’ when she really wondered about that body under the satin pajamas. Pulling Eliza close she just held her and caressed that wonderful hair. It really felt wonderful holding her and winding her fingers through the silky hair. “I think perhaps fate is laughing at us and wondering if temptation might be good for our soul?”
Eliza grinned at the deliciously accented Austrian she was holding. Whatever perfume Krystal used it clung to her or her hair and smelled breathtaking. Eliza wondered if she would get any sleep and really didn’t care if they stayed up all night talking. They did indeed talk until the early morning hours, getting to know one another, it was nice for both of them. Eliza finally couldn’t keep her eyes open any longer, she had been working too hard for too many weeks and sleep was precious, she drifted off in the middle of her conversation with Krystal telling her about her sons. Krystal laughed softly as she watched this beautiful and incredibly interesting American fall asleep.
Since Krystal was from Europe, the time difference, and her own night owl activities, she could sleep in catnaps and be fine for days. This trip with Aarika was just a diversion in an endlessly long line of diversions. She was tired of the nightlife, she was tired of the same people, the same dramas, the change in scenery had done her good, she enjoyed traveling but she was bored. Eliza had proven to be an interesting person for her to know, she really had enjoyed herself, she looked forward to getting to know her better. She too drifted off for a few hours.
~The End~ K’Anne