FIC: Original: Chance Encounter of the Unsettling Kind
“Nancy! Hey, Nancy!”
The voice pulled her out of her absent thoughts and sent her straight into a fresh hell of ugly memories. She did not want to acknowledge the woman coming toward her, a happy smile lighting her thin features. No, she did not at all. So Nancy Durmond turned away and ignored the face, ignored the voice, tried desperately to maintain her composure.
Her well meaning wife, of course, would not allow that to happen. A warm arm encircled her shoulders. A kiss was pressed softly to her temple. “Honey? That woman is trying to get your attention. Isn’t that your old roommate, Diane, the one you told me about?”
Nancy shook her head firmly. “I’ve never seen that woman before in my life, I swear.”
The other woman stopped now, bare yards away, her face not lit in recognition anymore. Nancy intended to keep it that way. She’d changed a lot in twenty years; perhaps the woman would think she was mistaken. She stared blankly ahead, keeping her voice even and said, “I’m afraid I have no idea who you are.”
The other woman looked at her for a long moment and stated firmly, “You should, we lived together long enough.” Nancy ignored her and kept walking, face averted, expression carved in stone, completely shielding her emotions from the rest of the world, and particularly from that woman.
Gretchen James, Nancy’s long suffering and entirely too social minded wife glanced at her sharply, and subsided. She knew that look. She wouldn’t bring it up again in public. She took the younger woman’s hand and led her to the restroom. Stepping inside with Nancy, she shut the door. “You want to tell me what that was all about?”
Nancy shook her head. No, she did not. She wanted to continue their leisurely, peace filled afternoon in this leisurely peace filled vacation spot. She did not want any reminders of the past, did not want any tension. They’d both worked too hard to carve out this precious time for themselves, wholly alone for the first time in over a year. They needed it so very badly, this time to reconnect and recharge, drawing comfort from one another. It had been a hard year.
Nancy was a writer and a moderately successful one…now. Twenty years ago she was a young woman with serious identity problems, a dead end job and really bad taste in friends. She didn’t want to think about that, not now, not ever. Gretchen was the owner of a successful restaurant chain; it was very difficult for the two of them to take a vacation and Nancy didn’t want to spoil it now. She shook her red hair again, defiantly, blue eyes snapping with barely concealed frustration.
“How long have we been married, Gretchen?” She answered herself, charging right along in her quest to calm the turbulence inside her. “Sixteen years. Has it never once occurred to you in all that time that perhaps when I don’t answer someone, it’s because I don’t want to? It doesn’t matter if I know her or not, I choose not to acknowledge her.”
Gretchen hugged her close. “I’m sorry. We won’t talk about it anymore.” The older woman’s green eyes softened in compassion, and love for her mate. “It’s all right. She’ll be gone by the time we come out.” Nancy relaxed against her, trembling. She hugged her beloved close and rested there, till she felt calmer. She knew this wasn’t over, not by a long shot.
The two women, one with fiery long tresses, one with short blond locks, left the restroom and the restaurant. Gretchen paid for their meal, commented to the manager about how lovely the place was, and they were off. They headed back towards their hotel, walking in the sand at the top of the beachhead, talking little. They held hands almost absently, as long married couples who are content with one another do. They reached the shopping district just before their hotel and turned in. They shopped companionably for the rest of the afternoon, choosing souvenirs for their children, their families and their friends. They went to dinner in the hotels outside dining area, enjoying the view and their meal.
For Gretchen, it was sheer heaven to not have to cook, or supervise. She relaxed completely, rejoicing in this time with her beloved. She worked long hours at home; they both did. She’d missed her wife desperately the past few months. Nancy had been finishing a novel, her thirteenth, and Gretchen had opened a fourth restaurant, so they’d barely seen one another for months. They lingered over dinner, talking quietly of nothing in particular. She wished that Nancy would be as relaxed as she had been before that…encounter…earlier in the day. She resolved to be patient. She could wait. She knew that eventually Nancy would talk about it and it would be all right.
These two women shared a deep bond, based on friendship and love, respect, admiration and a sense that they were each other’s absolute soul mate. They knew quite well how rare their relationship was, and took care to keep it healthy and strong. Gretchen knew something was troubling her wife; she knew they’d resolve it sooner or later. She put it out of her mind. They went for a walk on the beach, inhaling the soft island breezes, redolent with flowers and spice. They let the warm wet ocean spray soak them both, tasting the salt of it. They sat on the beach for awhile, enjoying the soft moonlight and the night sounds. Gretchen wrapped Nancy in a tight embrace, snuggling her close, kissing her softly.
They went back to their room, undressed slowly, and slipped into their bed, facing each other. Gretchen made love to Nancy with exquisite tenderness that night, hands and mouth and tongue worshipping every inch of her body. Nancy returned her caresses in equal measure. The two spent several hours expressing their love for one another, then fell into a satiated sleep.
The next day, they packed up and headed home, well being restored. Nancy still didn’t mention that woman, but she didn’t have to. Gretchen knew she would when she was ready, if it was important. Until then, she relaxed, secure in the love of her wife.