Chapter Fifteen: I May Not Know Art, but I Know What I Like.
Rachel returned home around five o'clock to find a sticky note on the fridge; "Rach, had to go to (here she had written three little triangles, presumably the tri-delt house) will pick up dinner stuff on the way home. Love you. -S".
Rachel smiled at the sweetness of the note, or more likely, at the fact she was now the kind of person who could be the recipient of such a note. She felt another twinge of guilt about how things had worked out with David and Candice but she knew it was for the best, not just for her but for David and Sara as well. And Candice was getting hers, so what did it matter?
Rachel took the opportunity for some more treadmill time and then tried to get a handle on her laundry. Sara had been sharing her hamper, so she washed her clothes as well. While she stood there, folding the younger girl's t-shirts, she still couldn't believe what had happened to her life in a few short weeks. She had long since given up berating herself for finding such happiness and now, she just let the feeling wash over her. Life was perfect, or it soon would be when Sara got home. For all Sara's talk of Rachel being her hero, it was, in fact, Sara's presence that lent Rachel a feeling of confidence and security she had never known. For this girl to love her, she couldn't be all bad, could she?
Sara came home around seven with groceries and a bottle of wine. After her run, Rachel was fresh from the shower. She greeted Sara in the entryway, when she arrived, with a big, long, hug. It wasn't really like Rachel to be so clingy, and Sara asked "What's up Rach'? Are you OK?".
"I'm great Kitten," Rachel sighed, her eyes closed and her arms still refusing to release the little blonde. "I'm just glad your home.".
"Did everything go OK this afternoon?" Sara asked, content to let the embrace last as long as Rachel wanted it to.
"You know, it did." Rachel answered, "I think Renee and my friend hit it off really well. Now, I can just put that sort of thing behind me."
"What do you mean?" Sara asked.
Rachel finally let Sara go, but the blonde still held on to her hand. "Well, Kitten, I guess what I'm saying is that I feel, I don't know, like a new person now, because of you. I just, kind of, don't want to do that kind of stuff anymore. At least, I mean, um, not with you." Rachel finished awkwardly.
"So, you're saying you don't want to go to your club anymore?". Sara guessed.
"Yeah, I guess, sort of." Rachel hedged, "I mean, if you ever want to go down and watch someone else, like Renee, that would be fine, but I don't think I want to be the show anymore. I think that the woman that really needed to do those things is gone now. I just don't feel it anymore.".
"You know, that's actually a weird coincidence." Sara said.
"How's that?" Rachel asked.
"Well, I was kind of feeling the same way about the sorority." she answered.
"Really? Aren't you, like, the pledge coordinator or something important?" Rachel asked, genuinely wanting to be interested.
"I believe the term you used was sorority pledge princess" Sara teased.
"Oh, right." Rachel laughed, embarrassed now, at the memory of her first meeting with the girl that would come to be at the center of her life.
"Yeah, well, there aren't any actual pledges anymore, rush ended a long time ago. Now all I really do is babysit a bunch of freshmen" Sara reasoned.
"So, how did the girls at the house react after what's her face, the bitch from the sandwich shop, told them about your new girlfriend?".
"Oh, Mariah? Yeah, that's actually one of the reasons I'm thinking of quitting." Sara sighed.
"Oh, are you kidding me? Did they all go redneck homophobic on you over there or what?" Rachel snorted.
"What? Oh, no, no. It was fine. I mean a couple of them, like Mariah, were pretty nasty, but most of them thought it was, I dunno, cool I guess. And in some ways, that was just as bad." Sara explained.
"What do you mean, Kitten?"
"Well, it's like a few of them thought I was dating a woman because I had always secretly hated guys and was lying to them all along, which isn't true. The rest all thought I had a girlfriend because it was, like, a college experiment or something. I mean it's not like a bunch of them hadn't made out with each other in front of their drunk, idiot boyfriends. I guess it's kind of like the way my Dad thought I was in a phase. I mean, you fall in love with a person, not a category of people, right?" Sara asked, sounding annoyed. "I guess nobody understands us Rachelsexuals." She giggled.
"Oh, Kitten," Rachel sighed, reaching out to brush a strand of Sara's hair out of her eyes, "why are you so good to me?".
"Because you can be so bad to me," Sara smirked, and moved in closer.
After the end of another idyllic weekend, and the resumption of the work week, the time for the Art show was upon Rachel. Sara was required to be there from four o'clock until seven o'clock, to represent her piece in the show. She told Rachel to come after work, toward the end, so that they could leave together afterward. Rachel arrived at the studio around six thirty. She had changed from her work attire into a fairly conservative cocktail dress and was carrying flowers; not roses but a bouquet of sunny yellow daffodils. She had chosen the flowers that reminded her most of Sara.
As she walked into the studio, it was sparsely populated, a dozen or so people moving around the room languidly. The near end, by the entrance, was occupied by a wide variety of ceramics and sculpture projects. The paintings were at the far end Rachel couldn't lay eyes on Sara so she proceeded to the paintings, pausing to politely study some of the sculptures on the way. There were definitely some talented students in the UCLA art program.
As she reached the far end of the room, a slight man with thinning hair and a salt and pepper goatee approached her. "Good evening, welcome." he said warmly, "I'm going to take a guess that you're hear to see Sara's work?"
"Um, actually, yes." Rachel admitted, surprised.
"Of course," the man said, "we haven't met. I'm Ron Goodman, Sara's professor. A few of the students in the class were trying to figure out if Sara's muse was real or metaphorical, and the artist herself was mum on the subject."
"Uh, OK" Rachel said, confused.
"Oh-ho, so you have yet to see the painting?" Goodman said. It was his turn to be surprised.
"No, um, I haven't" Rachel said. She felt as if she had walked in late on a good joke.
"Well, it's right over here," he waved a hand and led Rachel over to a large painting in a baroque gold painted frame. Unlike most of the other paintings on display, this one wasn't mounted on a wall, it was suspended by two wires from the ceiling.
"It's really quite well done" Goodman rambled, "She's very talented. She seemed to have trouble finding her direction at the beginning of the term but once they got the dualism assignment, she was focused like a laser."
Rachel would likely have found the conversation a little too much like a parent/teacher conference but she was too stunned by the painting to pay much attention to Sara's professor. The large painting, oil on canvas, depicted the back of a tall, muscular woman, standing, with legs apart, on gloved arm extended, finger pointing like the evil queen in a Disney princess movie. Taut muscled in her back and shoulders stood out, against the alabaster skin. Seen only from behind, the woman was clad in a tight, black and red corset, her shoulders bare, and glossy black pants. Her black hair blew wildly behind her back, as if she stood facing down a powerful gale. Crouched in the background, seemingly the target of the dark queen's extended finger, was a beautiful, sleek, black dog. It's eyes glowed fiercely as it looked on it's master with adoration. Rachel then noticed that the dog had two small red devil's horns on it's head and the tail that curved around it's haunches was barbed, like a cartoon devil. Rachel had to suppress a nervous giggle at the sight of the "horny bitch". The small brass plaque on the bottom of the frame read, "Sara's Lust".
Goodman gave her a moment to take the painting in, and said, "Wait, you haven't seen the rest of it." He motioned Rachel around to the back of the painting. On it's reverse was mounted another painting, this one oil on glass. It was inside a frame that matched it's opposite in every way, except that it was painted silver. There appeared to be a low wattage neon or fluorescent bulb near the upper corner of the pane that cast a surreal bluish light through the glass. The painting depicted Rachel's profile almost photo- realistically, seated on her bed, looking out a set of large glass doors at the moon above the Hollywood skyline. She was nude, but only the exquisite curve of her back and striking profile were clearly visible. She remembered that night and was not surprised to see the look of tranquility on the image's face. If Sara had taken a photo that night, the only difference between it and the painting would have been the small, white cat that lay sleeping, curled in a ball, peacefully, beside the seated woman. The brass plaque at the bottom read, "Sara's Love".
"What do you think?" She heard the shy voice from behind her.
She turned to face Sara. "I think," she said, tears welling in her eyes, "that you have to stop making me cry."
Rachel handed her the daffodils and Sara paused to adore them only briefly before moving to hug Rachel. Ron Goodman had prudently found somewhere else to be. Rachel sincerely fawned over Sara's talent and Sara flushed effusively, of course. Rachel had never felt so moved by another human being in her life.
"Where are we going to put it?" Rachel asked sweetly.
"Our bedroom, silly." Sara teased.
"I love you Sara." Rachel whispered.
"I love you Rachel" Sara replied, taking her hand.
After the show, Rachel took Sara for ice cream. They walked across campus, hand in hand, back to Rachel's car. Sara occasionally stopped to sniff her flowers, each time she did, she would squeeze Rachel's hands a little bit harder. Once back at their apartment, it was almost nine. Rachel went to put some Billie Holiday on the stereo and mix a couple of cocktails as Sara went to the bedroom to change. After a few minutes, she called out from the back of the apartment, "Hey Rach', I've got a problem back here, can you help me out for a sec?"
Rachel put down the martini glass she was stirring and walked back toward the bedroom. She wondered if the girl had a problem, or had mischief on her mind. When she opened the bedroom door, she saw Sara, on the bed, wearing her very tiny "Rachel's Girlfriend" shirt and the sexy white thong Rachel had bought her for Bastille. Definitely mischief.
"Sorry Rach'" Sara said, biting her bottom lip, "I think I fucked it up again." She lifted up her chin and Rachel could see she was wearing both collars.
"Oh, no, no, Kitten, you're perfect," she said, climbing on the bed and sliding over on top of her lover, "you're absolutely perfect.".
Epilogue: Pouring it on Thick
So Happily Ever After is not a very twenty first century concept, but after five years, at least, Rachel and Sara are still happy together. So happy, in fact, that a lot of perfectly nice people find it a little nauseating.
2014 was a big year for the couple. Sara graduated from UCLA, after, it seemed, Rachel was able to get her out of bed for those eight o'clock classes. In 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court pulled California's head out of it's ass and struck down proposition 8 as an obvious violation of the State's constitution. The next year, a month after Sara's graduation, Rachel gave her another T-shirt, this one full length, that read "Rachel's Wife.". Sara giggled out a "yes" before she even saw the ring, dangling from the shirt collar by a length of white ribbon.
They had a small, private ceremony with only Renee, as promised, Sara's father, and an official. Rachel's father had died long ago and she had been happily estranged from her mother for nearly as long.
There was a larger reception at Sara's father's home afterward. Rachel managed to steel herself enough to invite several people from her office, including Mrs. Hart of course, and her son Justin. Sara stayed friends with some of her sorority sisters who were incredibly excited to be at something as avant garde as a "gay wedding". Candice, who may have been a little cold most of the time, never said one objectionable thing and at the reception, with Renee hovering in the background, she was a regular peach. Rachel had a feeling that one day, Sara's stepmother was going to end up happily living in a box, under Renee and Milo's bed.
The couple agreed that, since the ceremony was private, they would both say something to their assembled well wishers at the reception. Sara, dressed in a stunning, bright yellow sleeveless dress, spoke first.
"Rachel," she said, standing in the living room of the house she grew up in, "you've heard me say this so many times now that you're probably sick to death of hearing it, but you still are my hero. You give me the strength every day to try to do something more, something greater with myself. I'm still so amazed by you, so respectful of you and still so much in love with you that I can hardly remember my life before. Most of all, I am so happy to be here with you today, in front of all our friends, so that I can promise you that I will love you for the rest of my life.".
The crowd broke into moist eyed applause for a few moments and then it was Rachel's turn. She took the microphone from Sara, and hugged her tightly. Rachel was wearing a midnight blue, Chinese Cheongsam dress, her hair in a tightly coiled braid.
"I lived all my life in the dark," Rachel began. The veteran communications expert was uncharacteristically soft spoken, even shy as she spoke. "I wandered, aimlessly, unsure of anything. When I was young, I sometimes saw flashes of light in the distance, quick, silver pinpricks, just sparks against the blackness. I would often hope that just a little bit of that light would find it's way to me. Just a torch, a flashlight, something to make me feel a little safety, a little warmth. But my hopes amounted to nothing. I grew older in the dark, I began to feel like I belonged there, like I was meant for it, that maybe I could even master it. Finally, one day, after so many years, I had almost given up on the light. I summoned what courage I had left, to hope one last time for just a little bit of that distant light. Just a candle, a match. Something I could have for myself, something to light up just a little piece of that darkness, even if only for an instant. And in that desperate moment, Sara, you gave me the sun.". Rachel's voice, which had been breaking throughout her speech, finally gave out as she fought unsuccessfully to hold back tears. Sara was up and at her side in an instant, arm around her, once again giving her the strength to speak.
"I can see everything now," Rachel continued, looking at Sara's glowing face, "I can see the whole world. There's no darkness anymore, no fear, just warmth and a sense of peace that I thought impossible. I owe everything to you Sara. I love you, so much I'll never be able to say, and I promise that I will love you for the rest of my life.". There wasn't a dry eye in the house, even Candice had the sniffles.
After the honeymoon (Paradise Island, Bahamas, thank you very much), Rachel had one more big announcement. She had, she felt, accumulated enough wealth through her lucrative career, as well as a few wise and/or lucky investments, to retire early, as in now. Sara was looking around for a university where she could get a teaching degree, so they embraced every Los Angelino's dream, and got the hell out of the city, heading for the Central Coast of California. Neither of them had much interest in country life, they bought a stylish townhouse near downtown Santa Barbara, where they still live.
Since Rachel's retirement, Sara got her teaching license from UCSB, and started teaching Art, part time, at a local charter school. She's put on a couple of pounds since her college days, but mostly in the places Rachel loves, and she couldn't be more pleased about it. Rachel has actually lost weight. She decided she was going to be damned if she was going to be Sara's little housewife so she started training for triathlons. Her new and improved stomach drives Sara as wild as the younger woman's padded behind does Rachel. Most nights, Sara still wears her Kitten collar, but every once in a while, horny bitch will still make an appearance in the black one. Oh, and Sara can use the stove just fine now.
Like I said, a little nauseating, right?
I've written some fiction before, but never anything sexually graphic, or nearly as long as this piece was. I've also never posted any of my stuff online. It started out as a four chapter outline and by the end of the fourth chapter, the characters had hijacked the story and were demanding a romantic novella. We reached a compromise, they would keep at least half of the sex really dirty and I would give them their happy ending.
I hope you enjoyed reading it. I would welcome any feedback or constructive criticism. If you want to berate me for propagating male fantasized pseudo-lesbian stereotypes, well, criticism accepted I guess, don't waste your time.
Also, I never lived in Los Angeles, some of the names and organizations are or may be real, but are used only to ground the story in reality. The whole thing is a complete work of fiction. Don't write me to correct my geography or because your an outraged sorority sister. It's artistic license.