Evie and Stella have spent the night making love but in the morning Stella is awoken by Evie’s live in landlady, Diane who is also a police sergeant. Stella and Diane have a history dating back to Stella’s drinking days when she came up against Diane and lost badly. However all that is water under the bridge as Stella prepares to interview Nicki as a replacement boarder at her place. Things hot up though when a chance encounter at Nicki’s place of work brings a ‘curious’ Mei Lin into the picture as well.
It was a morning after like no other. For Stella it was surreal to be sitting opposite Diane, who was still wearing her police uniform and tucking into a breakfast she’d cooked for them, fried eggs and bacon along with orange juice and coffee. The last time she’d seen Diane she had also been in a police uniform albeit with only one stripe on her sleeve, now she had three stripes meaning she was now a sergeant. Her hair had been mouse-brown back then and tied up into a bun, now it was tinted red and fell to her shoulders, framing a pixie-like face. She’d also lost weight if Stella’s memory served her correctly, around the hips although her breasts were still on the large size.
Diane was also quite talkative, and that was what Stella noticed the most, although to be fair she was at home and not on the job so to speak. Her body language and mannerisms suggested that the hard front she put on at work was nothing more than a façade and that was having an impact on Stella.
“I’ve known Evie since she was in high school,” she confessed, “I used to go to barbies at her house at least once a month, her stepdad and I go way back, he’s a retired cop.”
Which was a relief to Stella because she’d wondered why an openly gay woman was renting out a room to a woman who’d been curious. What made it more surreal was the way Diane played up to her, not in a sexual sense but more in the fashion of a guardian seeking to make her feel more at home.
“Whatever happened to Jenny?” Stella finally asked.
“I have no idea,” Diane shrugged, “I was there for reasons we both know about and when she didn’t press charges we left her to her own devices. She hasn’t popped up on the radar,” she looked up from her breakfast, “why?”
“It’s the matter of making amends,” she replied, “but my latest sponsor has said the best way to make amends is to stay sober.”
“Your sponsor is right,” Diane glanced up as Evie stepped into the room, “although if you want me to make inquiries I might bend the rules, you look very colourful today, Evie.”
Stella turned around as Evie approached the breakfast bar. She was wearing a brightly-patterned blouse that looked as if she was going on holiday instead of work. The base colour was brown and it was covered in red, yellow, and blue flowers as well as green leaves, two generous ruffles adorned the front of the blouse. The ends of the ruffles dangled over a conservative tan skirt that fell just past her knees, a pair of dark brown stilettos completed the outfit.
“Wow,” she shielded her eyes, “are you going on holiday or to work?”
“The latter,” she smirked, “but I’m in holiday mode,” she stopped behind Stella who was wearing the same clothes she’d had on yesterday but she’d elected to go without the waistcoat and the collar tie, the blouse was open to just above her cleavage for a more relaxed look.
“So, you two are,” she pursed her lips, “together?”
“We haven’t talked about it yet, it’s early days,” Stella leaned back as Evie rested her hands on her shoulders, “as they say in the fellowship.”
“Okay, well if you plan on moving house, give me some notice,” she looked up at Evie.
“Oh I’m not sure we’re there yet but you’ll get plenty of notice,” she squeezed Stella’s shoulders, “or I might keep her hidden in my closet.”
“Nothing wrong with hiding in closets,” Diane chuckled, “some of the hottest sex I’ve had was in closets,” she propped on her palm, “so, are you going to be home tonight?” Isobel has found a new babysitter and her husband is away until tomorrow night.”
“Um, I don’t know,” Evie glanced at Stella, “what are you doing?”
“I haven’t gotten that far yet,” she replied, “a day at a time,” she checked her watch, “what time do you have to be at work?”
“Quarter to nine,” she replied.
“Well we better get a move on if we’re going to beat the traffic.”
It was something they discussed on the way into town. Stella had been planning on going to a meeting but as she explained, it wasn’t as if she couldn’t skip the meeting and go to one the next night or even a lunchtime day meeting in the city.
“Just as long as you don’t skip too many meetings on my account,” Evie squeezed her leg, “my uncle Peter has told me what happens.”
Stella swallowed as she slowed for the traffic lights. It was so different having a girlfriend who actually understood the disease concept of alcoholism and yet, she frowned. What could go wrong and why was she so worried?
“You can skip tonight but not tomorrow,” Evie broke into bursa escort her musings, “but tonight we need to talk about where this is going. This is new for me but maybe not so much for you but I need to know where I stand and I don’t want you to tell me now.”
“I’m still trying to process it myself,” Stella admitted, “and you’re right, we need a day or so to think things over,” she stopped as her phone rang and a moment later she tapped the reply icon on the screen.
“Stella here, who is this?”
There was silence for a few seconds and then a female voice came through.
“Shit, sorry, I dropped the phone, it’s Nicki here from the café? We talked about meeting up to talk about this room?”
“We sure did,” Stella glanced at Evie, “I’m working today and I’ve got company tonight.”
“What time do you finish?” Nicki asked.
“Five or so, sometimes later but my friend is also in the city so we’ve got a bit of time to kill if you can make it into town.”
“That’d be perfect,” Nicki replied, “I’m working at the café until nine thirty, just come in and if there’s a spare table we’ll sit down for a chat but if not we’ll go into the staffroom.”
“No problem,” Stella replied, “I’ll text you if something pops up to sideline the plan and if you don’t hear from me then everything’s on, okay?”
“No worries, Stella. I’ll bring my references and all the bits and pieces, have a great day.”
“You too,” Stella farewelled her as the phone went dead.
She accelerated as the car ahead moved forward, another car pulled along beside her and Evie turned just in time to see the driver and his mate grinning at them. The passenger inserted his finger into the loop formed by the finger and thumb, she turned away as Stella spoke.
“I’ve got four extra bedrooms and my regular housemate has given me a months notice, twice now but now that I’ve got a potential replacement I might be able to let him go. He’s a nice guy and I’ve been dragging my heels because he’s so stable.”
“Okay,” Evie fiddled with the collar of her blouse, “I get that, I’d have to do the same with Diane as well, so, what’s Nicki like or haven’t you met her yet?”
Stella paused before replying.
“She works in the café near where I work. Nicki’s about your age and she’s been openly gay for years, her parents live in Omeo.”
“Okay,” Evie replied, “so, does what happened between us last night change anything for you with Nicki?”
“No,” she shifted gear, “the reason I was dragging my heels was because she was having problems with her girlfriend, Amanda, but things have been pretty good the last few weeks. I didn’t want to risk her moving in and finding herself single and alone with me.”
“It’s all right, I understand,” Evie reassured her, “I’d be the same if I slept with Diane, which I’m not in case you’re wondering.”
“I wasn’t,” Stella grinned, “but thanks for the reassurance. Nicki is a bundle of laughs though, you’ll get to meet her tonight,” she glanced at her, “and if you see something I’ve missed, do me a favour and mention it?”
“I don’t know, her vibes, the way she talks. I may not take your advice but I will listen.”
“Sure, whatever but you’ll take a chance anyway and it’s not up to me.”
They lapsed into silence for the rest of the journey. Stella was mentally projecting ahead, not just to the meeting with Nicki but three years down the track when she’d broken up with Evie and was now involved with Nicki.
Quit projecting, she reminded herself as she pulled up not far from the Swedish consulate.
“Well this is where we say goodbye,” she leaned across and brushed her lips across her cheek, “be good and text me if you get time, I may not answer straight away if I’m with someone,” she stopped as Evie suddenly turned and pulled her over for a longer kiss on the mouth.
“See you tonight,” she smiled.
Stella watched her walk away, feeling a mixture of passion and anxiety before a taxi blasted its horn and she glanced up in the rear view mirror.
“Don’t get your knickers in a knot,” she nudged the accelerator and drove away.
The tram squeaked away from the tram stop and Evie stared at the picture advertising the news for Channel Ten. Two women stood either side and behind two women with the slogan 10 News First above them all. She was instantly drawn to the white blouse tucked into a dark green skirt worn by one woman and felt a slight weakness, Jennifer Keyte had been a cornerstone of Melbourne news for as long as she could remember. The memories flitted through her like a slide show bringing with them a feeling of longing and anxiety. She’d always paid more attention to her than any of her male counterparts and yet she’d always thought that was down to her delivery and charm.
Evie picked out the café Stella had mentioned in a text, which also included a Google map link. Had she been curious for far longer than she suspected? She’d always thought it a recent thing, Evie stepped out onto the road and escort bursa merged with the other pedestrians crossing to the footpath and one woman also caught her eye. This woman was considerably younger than Jennifer Keyte with long black hair hanging loosely about her, she was dressed in office attire, a black, sleeveless sheath dress with a jacket draped over her arm. Her other hand was tucked into the crook of a woman’s arm and she was talking quietly.
Evie stared at their backs, wondering if these two women were gay but when they reached the pavement they stopped and farewelled each other with a brief hug. Evie frowned as she stared after the woman in the black dress. Desire had been very much in the forefront today and this woman was just another in a line of women at work who came across as desirable, although very much out of reach, except for Ola, the woman from technical services who actually was gay.
Ola had always been out of reach to most people because of her geek status and the fact she was able to monitor all their emails and web searches. And yet today she’d smiled at Evie when she stepped out for lunch and when she returned she asked her how she was getting on. It was the first conversation she could recall having with Ola.
Did Ola know she’d had sex with a woman or was this just a wild coincidence? She’d heard that people projected an aura that was detectable to certain people. Evie thought that a bit out there but even so, the fact Ola had stopped to talk to her was weird. She drew nearer to the café and as she got to the window an older woman in a white blouse over a black tee shirt smiled at her and Evie had the distinct impression it was that kind of smile. She returned the smile and then stopped in the doorway as the woman passed her. They looked at each other briefly and then the woman was moving further away leaving Evie staring after her buttocks.
Now that’s sexy, she thought and stepped into the café. However, when she looked around every table was full although the oxbow-shaped booths against the far wall weren’t all full and there was one in the middle that just had one occupant, a woman in an elegant white blouse, tan jacket and matching trousers sat drinking her coffee and playing with her phone. As if sensing her attention, she looked up at Evie but there was no smile, merely idle curiosity. She had long black hair that fell to her shoulderblades and distinctly Asian features adorned with a large pair of glasses.
“Can I help you?”
Evie turned to the woman speaking. She too had dark hair but it was brown and a lot longer. She was also wearing a white blouse along with a black tie and black trousers, the apron containing her notepad and pen however was red and Evie looked at her face for a moment.
“Um, I was meeting someone here but she’s not here yet.”
“Oh, I see,” she smiled, “um, we’re actually full but if you want to wait I’m sure we’ll have a spare table soon enough.”
“Okay, I’ll wait,” she winced at a familiar sensation, “um, do you have a toilet?”
“Sure,” she inclined her head, “down the back, I’ll punch in the code for you.”
The path they took led them past the booths at the back and this time the woman with the glasses did give her a good look and Evie smiled.
“Most of them stay for about fifteen minutes,” the woman went on, “but as soon as a table is free I’ll reserve it for you and your friend.”
“Thanks a lot,” Evie stopped as the woman punched in the code and then pushed the door open.
“No worries,” she smiled at her.
Once she’d emptied her bladder, Evie took a few minutes to wash her hands and brush her hair. How should she greet Stella? With a kiss or was this something that happened in relative privacy? Her eyes shifted as she tucked the blouse further into her skirt and then seeing that part of her bra was visible between the buttons she made another adjustment.
“You’re being childish,” she told her reflection a few moments later she stepped out of the toilet and into the café. Stella still hadn’t made an appearance and she sent her a text as she walked slowly past the booths.
Evie: At the café but it’s as full as a goog.
She paused by the booth where the single woman sat and then glanced at the door, contemplating waiting outside and then she became aware of someone touching her sleeve.
“Excuse me,” the woman pulled her hand away, “you’re looking for a table?”
“Um yeah, I’m meeting a friend here.”
“Just one friend?”
“Kind of,” she replied, “she’s got to see one of the waitresses here who wants to rent a room from her,” she turned to face her.
“Oh,” she smiled, “well why don’t you sit here?”
“It’s taken,” she returned the smile.
“By just one person,” she replied, “it’s a big table, I don’t know why they put me here when there was a smaller table by the window but if it’s any comfort I won’t be here long anyway.”
“Are you sure?” Evie asked her.
“Of course I’m sure,” she replied, “I wouldn’t have asked otherwise.”
“Okay, bursa escort bayan thanks,” she rounded the table and because she needed to keep an eye on the door she slid around closer to the woman.
“I’m Evie by the way.”
“Mei Lin,” she held out her hand.
“Hiya,” they shook hands, her accent was broad Australian and so she framed her next question carefully, “your parents are from China?”
“Malaysia,” she replied, “I was born there too but I was naturalised a few years ago.”
“My grandmother was born in Vietnam but I’m mixed race.”
“I thought so,” she glanced over as the waitress who’d let Evie into the toilet approached, “you can see it in your features.”
“I’m impressed,” Evie smiled.
“You found a table,” the woman smiled.
“Yeah,” she glanced down as her phone beeped.
Stella: On my way, be another ten minutes.
“What’ll it be?”
“Um just a cappuccino,” she replied.
“No worries,” she glanced at Mei Lin, “would you like a refill?”
“Um no thanks,” she glanced at her handbag, “I’ve spent enough today already.”
“She’ll have a refill,” Evie spoke up, “it’s my shout,” and then seeing the look on Mei Lin’s face she smiled, “you let me share a table, it’s only fair and I’ve been a recipient of random acts of kindness more than once in my life.”
“Oh,” Mei Lin nudged her glasses further up her nose, “thank you.”
“See, all’s well that ends well,” she straightened up as the phone in her back pocket rang and then she took it out and swiped the screen.
“Hey, Stella, where are you?”
Evie felt the hairs standing on the back of her head as she suddenly read the name on her name tag, Nicole.
“Oh, okay,” Nicole glanced at Evie, “this friend of yours, is she wearing a colourful blouse with flowers on it?”
Evie stared straight ahead as Nicole grinned.
“Well, bugger me, relatively speaking, I’m just about to bring her a cappuccino, you want your usual as well?”
She nodded and then farewelled her.
“So, you’re Stella’s friend,” Nicole studied her as she slipped the phone into her pocket.
“I am, Stella’s friend.”
“Well, today’s your lucky day,” she flicked at her hair, “it’s my shout,” she glanced Mei Lin for a split second, “two free coffees coming up,” she wiped the back of her hand theatrically across her brow, “you can thank me later,” she spun around and sauntered towards the counter.
“That was nice of her,” Mei Lin remarked, “the kindness of strangers?”
“Something like that,” Evie turned her attention to Mei Lin.
She looked to be in her early twenties but with Asian women it was impossible to know for sure. Her skin was flawless and her long black hair had a lustrous sheen to it. The white blouse had a half mandarin collar and it was fastened at the top with an oval shaped brooch that had a black stone in the centre. She briefly allowed her eyes to travel the length of her torso, her breasts were on the large size but her waist was smallish. She took in the blouse once more, the sleeves were chiffon but the cuffs were silk with dual button closures. The bodice was silk with diagonal ruffles on each side that started at the shoulders and finished just above her cleavage. The buttons were arranged in an odd pattern, five set close together just above her cleavage and the other three spaced out quite far apart. Mei Lin met her gaze and Evie smiled timidly.
“Where did you buy it?”
“My maternal aunt in Singapore sends me clothes once a month,” she tugged at one of the ruffles, “this is what she sent last month.”
“It’s amazing,” Evie stared at it, “may I?”
“Sure,” Mei Lin angled to face her and arched her back slightly. Her breasts pushed against the silk material, but Evie hesitated before reaching to finger one of the ruffles.
“Sateen,” she replied, “but the sleeves are chiffon.”
It felt almost wrong touching her clothes after what she’d just done last night but then a smile nudged her lips as she moved up to briefly touch the collar, which was made of thicker material. She doesn’t know I just made love to a woman.
“The collar is a polyester blend,” Mei Lin spoke up.
“It’s a beautiful blouse,” Evie withdrew her hand, “it must have cost heaps.”
“My auntie works as a buyer for an international clothing company,” she nudged her glasses, “so it didn’t cost her much at all, I think it’s part of her employee discount.”
“Is your auntie from Malaysia originally?”
“She is but she moved to Singapore for work years ago, before I was born and stayed on. I lived with her for six months.”
“So,” Evie leaned back, “do you work in town or are you just in for the day?”
“I’ve just applied to college at Melbourne uni,” she fiddled with the crucifix, “business studies, it’s a family tradition.”
“What does your father do?”
“He works in middle management at the Commonwealth and my two brothers and my sister are all in banking. Mum works at a Saint Vincent De Paul charity shop.”
“Ah so,” she leaned back and glanced at the door, “and you’re the last in line or do you have a younger sibling?”
“I’m the youngest,” she reached out and tugged at the sleeve of Evie’s blouse, “where did you buy this?”