Genre: LGBT Romance.
Good morning, sleepy head.”
“Morning.” Carol flashed a smile. “I had the best sleep, ever.” She yawned and stretched. “This bed is so comfy.”
I leaned in to kiss her. “You look so cute when you’re sleeping.”
“Did I snore?”
“No!” I fibbed. “Well not that much.”
She covered her face. “The shame of it.”
“Don’t worry about it. Richie sounded like a warthog when he started.”
“My ex snored too. I used to find it difficult to sleep after we split because I was so used to the background noise.”
“Not me. I sleep like the dead now.”
“Talking of Richie, what do you think he would say if he knew about this.”
“I’m not bothered what he thinks, but I want to be honest with him. We are nothing to do with him, but I’d like to think he would be happy for me. I would be for him if he met somebody he wanted to be with.”
“What about Dillon?”
“I don’t think he cares enough about me to care what I do.”
“I’m sure that’s not true.”
“We’ll see, but what about your son?”
“I’m not sure to be fair, depends how much crap his dad fills his head with.”
“Like that, is it?”
“Oh, yeah. My ex is a racist homophobe who only likes what he considers the norm, so I’m sure he would consider me dipping my toes into a lesbian relationship the worst thing ever. But I’ll soon put him in his place if he starts.”
“Is that what this is then, a lesbian relationship?”
“Well, we’re two women, and I’d like to see where this goes, so yeah, I guess it is, a relationship, if you’re okay with it?”
I leaned in and kissed her. Usually I’d run a mile, wanting to clean my teeth before any form of intimacy, but with Carol, everything seemed so much more relaxed. I felt like we were in tune physically, spiritually, and mentally. “I’d love that.”
“Good.” She stroked my face. “Shall we go out for breakfast? I fancy a big greasy fry up.”
“Sounds good to me, but I need to shower first.”
“I could join you.”
“Now, that is a great idea.” I kicked the duvet off. “Come on then, quick shower, then we can go and stuff our faces. I know a gorgeous little café by the river.”
Breakfast was delightful as was the company, but I had stuff to do, as did Carol.
I drove us back to my house so she could collect her car, then we said our goodbyes with a kiss, not words. I waved her down the driveway and looked forward to seeing her again.
Dillon popped into my mind. I decided to text him and tell him I’d collect him from school.
I looked at my phone. Five missed calls from Richie.
“Shit.” I panicked, thinking there had been an accident or some other problem with Dillon.
I hit redial.
“About time,” Richie snapped.
“Is everything okay?”
“Yeah, fine,” he replied. “Unless you count your son hearing his mother and her girlfriend at it.”
My heart dropped.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“Is that why you threw me out, Michelle?” He was blazing. “So you could start up with your girlfriend?”
“It’s not like that, Richie, I promise.”
“Whatever, but if you think you’re getting half of the house and your hands on my money, you can think again. I’m not working my arse off to keep you and that lesbo in the lap of luxury.”
“Come over and we can talk.”
“There’s nothing for us to talk about, but I’m going for custody of Dillon too. I don’t want him being around that sort of thing.”
“What sort of thing is that?”
“Don’t you dare speak to me like that.”
“Isn’t that what you are now?”
“It isn’t like that but if you’d shut up for a moment and let me explain…”
“Save it for court.”
“Please, Richie, I need you to hear me out.”
“Why should I?”
“Because you’ve got it all wrong.”
“Four o’clock. You can explain it to your son at the same time.”
My nerves ate away at me.
It’s not like I’d done anything wrong.
Richie arrived bang on time and sat opposite me at the kitchen table.
“He didn’t want to face you, so I dropped him off at Rob’s.”
“For Christ’s sake, Richie.”
“So, tell me…”
“What do you want to know?”
“Who she is and how long it’s been going on would be a good start.”
“Her name is Carol. She’s a friend of Mags and it, whatever it is, started after you moved out.”
“I swear on my parents grave, I have never cheated on you.”
“Then why didn’t you tell me you’d moved on?”
“Because I didn’t realise I had.”
“What does that mean?”
“I was pissed, and we slept together, but I didn’t know what it was. You know I have only ever had sex with you, until now. I was confused.”
“And you’re not anymore, is that what you’re saying to me?”
“I like her, Rich, and not because she’s a woman, but because she makes me feel good.”
“And I didn’t make you feel good in bed?”
“For years, in or out of bed, no, but I’m not talking sex, I’m talking person to person, that connection.” I was terrified of his reaction. “Please don’t take Dillon away from me. You can have this house and all the money, but I don’t want to lose my son over it.”
He sat in silence for a moment. “I was angry, Shell, still am.”
“So, you won’t sue for custody?”
“What’s the point? He’s nearly an adult anyway.”
“Is he okay?”
“He’s fine but didn’t want to get in the middle of us two bickering again.”
“But he knows about Carol–I thought he would hate the idea.”
“Seems our son is a lot more accepting than we gave him credit for.”
“Then why isn’t he here?”
“He’s heard his mum and her girlfriend having it off and is embarrassed, as would you be in the same situation.”
I felt horrible, not least due to the way both found out about Carol. “I’m so sorry. I was going to tell you but was waiting until I knew myself.”
“So, are you a lesbian?”
“I don’t know what I am, but I know I like Carol, a lot, but I’m old enough to know it could be just a thing in response to our splitting up.”
“I’m not gonna pretend I’m over the moon, but I have come to terms with the fact you and I won’t get back together, but be careful, Shell. I still care what happens to you, even if I wish things could be different between us.”
“That means more to me than you’ll ever realise.”
“I mean it, and Dillon isn’t arsed if it’s a man or woman you’re with. It’s just weird for him because he wants us to be together.”
“Did he tell you that?”
“Yeah. You seem surprised, but we do talk quite openly with one another.”
I felt jealous of their relationship, realising I had been too harsh and controlling at times. “I wish he would talk to me.”
“He loves you, Shell, but you’ve always been the strict one out of the two of us. Of course, I have a better relationship with him.”
“Will you talk to him for me?”
“And say what?”
“That he is the still the most important person in my life and if he doesn’t want me to see Carol, I won’t.”
“I’ll do my best but can’t promise anything.”
“You do know I have never cheated on you, don’t you?”
“Yeah, I do.” To my surprise, he reached for my hand. “You might be a nag, but your mum and dad raised you with a firm set of morals, so I should have known better than to jump to conclusions.”
“I’m a nag?”
“God, yeah, you don’t half go on when you’ve got a bee in your bonnet.”
“I remember your dad used to roll his eyes when your mum started.”
“The good old days, eh?” I had only the fondest of memories with my parents.
“I miss them every day, you know.”
“They’ll be looking down wondering what the hell you’re up to now.”
“I dread to think what they’d make of Carol.”
“Do you really think they’d have loved you any less for your choice?”
“Teenage pregnancy and marriage were one thing, but a girlfriend is another.”
“I’m telling you now, they’d have been your staunchest supporters, Shell, and woe betide anybody who said anything against you.”
“I miss this version of us, Rich.”
“Me too but even though we’re heading for divorce we’re always gonna be in each other’s lives, especially when Dillon presents us with grandkids.”
Grandchildren. Ugh. What a terrible thought. “In about thirty years I hope.”
“Don’t be so sure. If he’s anything like us, he’ll do everything arse about face.”
I laughed. “We didn’t do everything arse about face, and now, I can look back at us and not have regrets. We’re where we are meant to be, I firmly believe that, and one day soon, you’ll meet the woman you’re destined to spend the rest of your life with.”
“Do you think?”
“Oh, yeah,” I said with a smile. “Unless you find yourself a hunky fella and…”
He interrupted me. “You can piss right off, Shell.”
The look on his face was comical and pushed me into hysterical laughter. “Oh, your face…”
“Laugh all you want, but that is never going to happen.”
“Poor Dillon would be scarred for life.”
He shuddered. “Shut your gob and make me a cup of tea. I’m gasping.”
I pushed myself up and held my arms out.
“Shall we hug it out?”
“Go on then, for old time’s sake.” He forced himself up and enveloped me with love. “Don’t get any ideas though, you’re taken.”
I felt safe in his arms and knew I had no better friend in the world.
Book published 09/11/19