GH Sunday: Day 01 Scene 02
She’d turned the lights off so that she could see the storm more clearly. The snow was piling up on the windowsill and phone lines outside, at least a foot of the stuff. The power was out a few streets over, creating a small pocket of darkness against the sodium glow of the city. The wind was blowing hard, the tree outside her window bowing before its ferocity. There was a familiar cold sense of dread in her stomach. It was hard to make anything out in the swirling shapes outside her window, but there seemed to be a darkness outside that wasn’t natural, blacker than black, a shape of something that should be, but wasn’t. Then the wind gusted, the snow blew hard against the window, splattering against the screen and she couldn’t see the darkness anymore, only blobs of white against the orange and black night.
That didn’t mean the darkness had gone, of course, just because she couldn’t see it. It had been haunting her, on and off, for as long as she could remember. She frowned, trying to shake off the anxiety still gnawing at her entrails. She couldn’t wait to go back to work tomorrow, it was time. It was past time. She’d been idle too long, her thoughts too free, she was becoming too vulnerable again to her ghosts. Time to rebuild her armour and get on with her life.
“Indigo,” a soft voice called to her from the bed.
She wondered if her aunt was awake downstairs. Should she go and check on her? She checked her phone. No texts and it was only a couple of hours since she’d left her aunt sleeping soundly in her bed.
“Hey,” Kate said, sidling up behind her, pressing her naked front against Indigo’s naked back. She was shorter than Indigo, herself not all that tall, and far more petite. Her body was warm from the bed. She slid her arms around Indigo’s waist. “You’ll catch a cold standing out here with nothing on, come back to bed.”
Indigo tossed her phone onto the couch, turned to face Kate. The other woman had a feline grace, green eyes, a mop of brown curls and pale skin. Indigo drew her in close.
“You’re warm,” she murmured.
“And you’re not,” Kate protested drowsily. “Come on back to bed before you catch your death, honestly…”
She stopped and gave a little shriek as Indigo slid her arms under Kate’s shoulders and knees and picked her up in her arms.
“Oh my,” Kate said, blushing furiously, pressing her face into the crook of Indigo’s shoulder and neck. “I didn’t realise you were strong enough to do that.”
“Lots of things you don’t know about me,” Indigo grinned as she carried Kate over to the bed with a steady stride. She might not be all that tall, but she was stocky and she worked out. She stood beside the bed, relishing the warmth of the smaller woman in her arms, Kate’s trust in her, to allow her to carry her.
“That’s true,” Kate said, her mouth smiling against Indigo’s skin. “Why don’t you teach me some more of what you can do?”
Indigo lowered her carefully onto the bed, covering her with her own body, their legs and arms soon entwined as they kissed, hungrily. She paused, her hand stroking Kate’s smooth skin, following the slight curves of her breasts, waist and hips. Her skin was so pale compared to Indigo’s, Indigo relished the sight of their legs twisted together.
“Indigo,” Kate whispered as her lover’s hand went lower, stroking her gently. Kate flung her head back, arched her back. “Indigo.”
Indigo removed her fingers, licked them, then lowered her head to Kate’s crotch, Kate’s legs crossing behind her shoulders, holding her in place.
“Indigo, please, I want…”
Indigo lifted her head. “Yes?” she grinned.
“You too,” Kate protested. “I don’t want this to be all about me, you know.”
“You’re so unselfish,” Indigo teased, moving back up the bed, her skin smooth against Kate’s skin, her fingers seeking out Kate’s labia once more.
“No,” Kate whispered, her fingers deftly mirroring Indigo’s. “No, trust me. This isn’t…” She gave a little gasp and swallowed.
“I agree,” Indigo murmured, lowering her head for another deep, searching kiss. “You’re pleasure is my pleasure.”
“And yours is mine,” Kate murmured back. They were silent for a long time after that, mouths and bodies pressed together, fingers deftly stroking each to a climax that left them breathless. All thoughts of her aunt and her ghosts had left Indigo’s mind completely.
Her phone buzzed like an angry bee trapped in the soft cushions of the couch.
“Shit,” Indigo sat up, disentangling herself from Kate’s embrace.
“Don’t answer it.”
“It might be my aunt.” Naked, Indigo padded over to the couch to pick up the phone. It wasn’t her aunt, it was her cousin, Mary.
- Have you checked on Mum recently? Worried the storm will frighten her.
Indigo sighed. She didn’t need Mary telling her how to care for Aunt Sophie. But then, Mary was ten years older than her and always thought of herself as a second mother to her cousin, no matter what Indigo thought.
- Checked on her two hours ago, she was sleeping. Will check again in a bit.
She sent the text then looked back at Kate. Some women looked ridiculous when they sulked, but Kate looked adorable.
“I need to go downstairs for a moment,” she told her.
“This isn’t what I had in mind when you invited me over for a sleepover,” Kate said, yawning. “You’ve been up and down those stairs like a yo-yo.”
“It’s my aunt,” Indigo replied. “She lives on the second floor. I need to check on her.”
“Is she ill?”
Indigo hesitated. How to explain Aunt Sophie? “It’s complicated.”
“You’ll be back.”
“Of course,” Indigo pulled on a sweatshirt and sweatpants, thrust her feet into her nikes and leaned down to kiss Kate on her pouting mouth. “Won’t be long, I promise. Don’t start anything without me.”
“I won’t,” Kate said, her sleepiness making her sound like a young girl. “Promise.”
Indigo shut the door on her studio apartment, went swiftly down the stairs and let herself into her aunt’s apartment with her key. She didn’t call out or switch on any lights, for fear of waking her aunt. This unit was bigger than her own. Hers was in the attic space, a studio with a tiny kitchen and bathroom. Aunt Sophie’s was a two-bedroom, with an open plan living room and kitchen. Indigo was familiar enough with the layout that she could have walked through the living room into the back bedroom with her eyes closed, but as it was, the streetlights let in plenty of light for her to see where she was going. The kitchen, as she passed it, was immaculate, not so much as a cup out of place, the granite countertop scrubbed clean as always.
She paused at her aunt’s bedroom door, her hand on the handle, her ear pressed against the white painted wood. She could muffled sounds and so she eased the door open slowly, quietly.
“Gwen,” she heard her aunt cry, a huddled shape beneath the blankets. “Oh Gwen, I’m frightened.”
“All right, Aunt Sophie,” Indigo said softly, crossing the room with a swift stride. “It’s Indigo. I’m here. There’s no need to be afraid.”
“Indigo?” Aunt Sophie’s voice was querulous. “What are you doing here?”
“You were having a nightmare,” Indigo sat on the side of the bed and reached out a reassuring hand to her aunt’s bulk under the covers. “You were crying.”
“I was?” Aunt Sophie sat up, sniffing a little, her fingers patting at her cheeks. “Oh yes, I was, wasn’t I? Oh dear, yes. I dreamed of your mother, honey. She was lost in the storm and I couldn’t find her. Or was I lost in the storm and she was looking for me.”
Indigo had no patience for talk of her mother, who was only a face in a few old photographs, after all.
“Come on, get up,” she urged. “I’ll make you cocoa. Unless you want to go back to sleep?”
“Oh no. No, I don’t think I could go back to sleep, not just yet.”
“Come on then.”
Indigo switched on the bedside light, found her aunt’s dressing gown and slippers and helped her into them. Her aunt was shorter than her, plump with brown curly hair that showed surprisingly few grey strands. Her pyjamas were navy blue with turquoise polka dots, her dressing gown was bright blue and her slippers had rabbit ears.
“You don’t have company?” her aunt asked anxiously as she trotted at Indigo’s heels out into the kitchen and living room. “I don’t want to ruin your last night before you go back to work.”
“It’s all right,” Indigo switched on the lights that ran under the kitchen cupboards. At this time of night she didn’t want too bright a light, and the soft glow was enough to make cocoa by. “She’s sleeping.”
“She?” her aunt’s face creased into a smile. She took a mischievous pleasure in Indigo’s love life that was only increased by Mary’s equal disapproval. “Have I met her or is this one new?”
“New,” Indigo said, digging out a pan from one of the cupboards and placing it on the stove. “I met her at physio. Her name’s Kate.”
“Is it serious?” Aunt Sophie opened the fridge to get the milk.
“I’m never serious, you know that.”
“You’re twenty seven,” Aunt Sophie scolded, pouring milk into the pan and lighting the gas. “You should think about settling down. You can’t be single forever, you know.”
“Why not?” Indigo was serious. She found the cocoa in a cupboard, behind the coffee, and handed it to her aunt. “Marriage isn’t for everyone and I know I don’t want children. I’ve got friends, family, work. What more can I ask for?”
“You might change your mind,” Aunt Sophie suggested tentatively, stirring the milk. “About children. Or just when you’re older you might not want to be alone.”
Indigo knew it would be cruel to point out that Aunt Sophie had married and had a child, but here she was in her sixties, living alone.
“I can’t get serious about someone on the basis that I might want to be with them later on,” she pointed out.
“No,” her aunt agreed. She took the milk off the heat and added the cocoa, whisking it briskly. “But I just don’t like to see you alone, that’s all.”
“I’m never alone,” Indigo grinned. “And I’m having fun.”
“Well, just so long as you’re happy,” her aunt poured the cocoa into two mugs with a steady hand. Funny, no matter how good or bad a day she was having otherwise, she could always cook. “And there’s no harm in getting these things out of your system first.”
“These things?” Indigo took her mug of cocoa. Her aunt’s was red, with Number One Aunt painted on it in white in an unsteady hand - one of Indigo’s infrequent childhood efforts. There was a Number One Mum mug somewhere, far more neatly done, but Aunt Sophie never seemed to use it.
“You know, sleeping with girls.”
“A minute ago, you were asking me if I was serious about her.”
“And it would be completely all right if you were,” Aunt Sophie hastened to assure her. “I mean I just want you to be happy. But you have some of your mother in you…”
Indigo winced at the unintentional insult, often repeated.
… and I think maybe you’re just enjoying being a little bit naughty?”
Indigo snorted into her cocoa. She could never be angry at her delightful, childish aunt, who loved her so completely and used words like ‘naughty’. She couldn’t imagine anyone else in her life who would describe her like that. But then no one else in her life, except Mary, had ever changed her diapers or helped her take her first steps, or wiped away her tears on her first day of ‘big school’.
They sipped their drinks in silence for a while and Indigo wondered if she could get her aunt to go back to bed and to sleep before Kate got completely pissed off with how long she’d been left alone. Unless Kate was already asleep herself. It was late, after all.
“Why don’t you bring her down here?” her aunt said. Indigo looked up, startled. “You’re checking the time,” Aunt Sophie added with a smile. “I know you’re worried about leaving her alone for too long. Why don’t you bring her down? I’d like to meet her and I promise I won’t embarrass you.”
The thought that Aunt Sophie would think Indigo was embarrassed by her if she didn’t bring Kate down was enough to make up Indigo’s mind.
“All right,” she said, giving her aunt’s cheek a peck. “I’ll just go and see. If she’s asleep, I’ll leave her…”
But Kate wasn’t asleep. She sat bolt upright in bed the minute Indigo came through the door and met Indigo’s suggestion that she come downstairs eagerly.
“You don’t mind?” she asked.
“Why would I mind?” Indigo retorted. “Why would I be even asking you if I mind? But you don’t have to…”
“No, I’d love to,” Kate assured her, throwing on her underwear, leggings and oversized sweatshirt. She looked around for her Adidas sneakers, pulled them on. “Do I look okay.”
“Sexylicious,” Indigo smiled.
“I mean,” Kate flushed. “I mean, do I look okay for your aunt? I don’t want to shock her or anything.”
“Don’t worry,” Indigo led the way down the stairs. “She knows we’re lovers.”
“She does, I mean… Wow, she’s okay about all that?”
“Sure,” Indigo shrugged, pausing at her aunt’s door.
“I’ve never told my parents I’m gay,” Kate said. “I’m too afraid of what they’ll say.”
“I’m not gay,” Indigo said. “You know that, right?”
“Bisexual then, but isn’t it the same thing? I mean, people still disapprove.”
“Aunt Sophie is not the disapproving type,” Indigo said, opening the door to the apartment. Her aunt had lit a few more side lamps, lighting the living room with its soft couches and armchairs, the walls covered in family photos in a variety of frames. She was sitting in on the blue couch, sipping her cocoa and looking through a red leather-bound book. More books were scattered on the dark wood coffee table.
“Oh no,” Indigo groaned. “Not the photo albums.”
“Oh yes,” Aunt Sophie looked up with an impish grin. “And I’ve made more cocoa for Kate. Hello Kate, come on in.”
“Oh. Hello,” Kate blushed, seeming a little surprised by her. Indigo let them make their introductions while she fetched the two mugs of cocoa - hers topped up, she noticed and both topped with marshmallows.
“It’s going to be a long night,” she grimaced, settling herself on the blue and cream rug, looking over the photo albums her aunt had pulled down from the bookshelves. “You don’t have to do this Kate, honestly, it’ll be torture for you.”
“No, I want to,” Kate replied, settling on the couch next to Aunt Sophie.
“Now this is the first album,” Aunt Sophie said, leaning over so Kate could see. “This is from when Indigo first came to us, when she was thirteen months old…”
© Essie Gilbey, 2014
© Essie Gilbey, 2014