Married before twenty, Evy had always just assumed herself to be heterosexual, just out of the fact that heterosexuality had been the only option presented to her - she had been brought up in the days where sapphic attraction was as much a mental disease as it was anything else; her mother had drilled into her since day one about the various evils of gayness. It was as forbidden a fruit as premarital sex, or drunkenness, or drugs (all three of which Evelyn would admit to having sampled before the age of eighteen - a natural rebellion, if anything.) But unlike the odd danger and appeal of the others, which she went out of her way to pursue, and then left behind with her teenage years - besides, of course, the drinking - she had never had any sort of conscious urge to be with a woman for the sake of pissing off Josephine, or disgracing Mother; women had always just been a hidden pleasure she had indulged in from afar. School's PE changing room; walking up the stairs behind a particularly short-skirted secretary in the office - it was just a thing she did. And until it had been pointed out to her, she hadn't thought it odd. One doesn't find blinking to be strange.
So the knowledge had been there, as well as the dormant desire to take it further than an occasional glance...And the day that the two of them had met, she had finalised the knowledge, and awakened the desire. As she stood there in front of her - brassy auburn hair; delicate musculature visible through a tight blouse; miles upon miles of long, lean legs; bust and backside accentuated but not shown off by trendy clothing - a light had seemed to go on. She greeted her - syrupy voice which complemented the entire delicious exterior perfectly. She was a similar case to Evy; an old agent felled by unfortunate injury - though hers hadn't nearly enough scandal surrounding it to merit a half-decent replacement job, as she herself had put it in fewer words. Once Evelyn had her jaw rehinged and picked back up off of the floor, she'd eventually had the moxie to introduce herself to her new PA.
She had always wanted her. Just a little. Just enough to keep things interesting; an occasional fleeting hint of danger and intrigue in her otherwise quintessentially drab life. She'd made sure never to admit it to herself; made absolutely certain to keep it under lock and key, but there it was. She had always longed just a little bit for her; for Avalon Melrose.
And as they grew closer, and closer still, it became less of a piquing curiosity and more of an obsession. She wanted to possess her. She wanted to own her. She wanted everyone in the fucking world to see her mark on her and know that she was the one who'd tamed that statuesque, marvelous creature. And when those deep green eyes locked on her own...She experienced the exact opposite emotion in equal measure - she wanted to curl up at her feet and worship. It consumed her, almost...and her feelings about this were distinctly mixed.
She was too old for that sort of carry-on, of course. Not that that had ever stopped her; as thankless and dutiful as their lovemaking had been, she and Matthew had always been very much active until she had been rendered incapable by some broken bones, and bullets; even his drunken, slobbering kisses that he occasionally trailed across her, even as their relationship took its last few dying gasps, dripped with a strange sort of passion (and a fair volume of saliva to boot.) Still, she was too old for it. And anyway, age was inconsequential when pitted against the real punchline.
Evelyn could never be exactly what Ava needed - not now. She was married, for one - not for much longer, but it was still the case regardless. She knew from their embarrassingly long chats on rainy evenings in the office; from the nights sat on each other's living room couches - a tentative hand on a shoulder or a knee - nothing more - she knew that Ava was about as straight as she was - even less, probably, having actually indulged herself fully in her various pursuits of various women - and that wasn't the problem. But she seemed to be the type to wish to settle. And Evelyn couldn't deal with commitment; she didn't want to place her wrists straight back into the shackles she had toiled for so long to free herself from the minute some bit of skirt made eyes at her. She couldn't
. She had no idea what Avalon wanted from this, but she had a lingering, worrying feeling that their desires didn't match up. Evelyn wanted exploration; wanted solace
as she lay in the burning remains of her marriage. From what she could deduce, Ava wished for something...steadier. More definite.
She could do it. They would. It would be gorgeous, the weeks that they spent together, wrapped in each other. They'd go to bed together, naturally. Ava'd know exactly what to do with her - she had been there before, hadn't she?
It would be so beautiful for a while - the most wonderful, intimate fling, but eventually she would have to see it for what it was meant to be - nothing more than a brief interlude in their lives. Evy's conscience would never let her keep her; it wasn't sustainable, and more importantly, it wasn't what Ava needed. She'd become Evelyn's prisoner; too fond to break away in spite of wanting and needing
to. Or perhaps too full of pity - pity felt as though it was the crux of the matter.
Because Avalon's interest in her seemed only to have appeared after France - sure, this had been what put them in such close a proximity to one another, but they had known each other for years
...That worried her; the thought that perhaps Ava didn't want her, or even care for her at all, but had seen her unloved and vulnerable and miserable; so full of fear that she hardly knew who she was any more - and had seized her chance for a quick fix, or a game. To try her on, then cast her off for a sadistic amusement - we all have to get our kicks somehow, after all. She felt her anxiety in her stomach - a tiny pit sitting there. Questioning everything was a behaviour that she knew by now was only an unwanted part of her nature.
Because she knew it when she looked at her; she would catch that occasional glance from Ava as they sat during a break in a conversation, just out of the corner of her eye. That woman had this look
...this bizarre look that had the power to turn her to jelly. She would never think Evy caught her doing it; it was always when she looked away. But that look on her face that seemed as though she was gazing at the most beautiful thing in the world; that tentative, touching Mona Lisa's smile. That wasn't the look of a woman who was looking only to mess someone around; to play with a person's heart for some light merriment.
But smile or none; obsessed or otherwise...Either way, it wasn't to be. At least not for long - forever is a long, long fucking time, and though it pained her to admit, it wasn't a time she was meant to spend by Avalon's side.
But they had fallen into a relationship - fallen in love
- with such a bizarre, unspoken ease. Evelyn hadn't, as far as she recalled, done anything to entice Ava, or lead her on. But nonetheless, there they were. That first night they had spent alone together, and had stayed awake and talked until dawn - just talked
Slowly, over time, they grew more comfortable together as they found a balance for their needs and desires. Ava wasn't one for raucous sex in the way that Evelyn's soon-to-be ex-husband had been; age had given them the patience and understanding that they'd lacked in youth. The drunken all-nighters in each other's company in front of the TV had become chaste, tentative kisses - dragged into the bedroom in a flurry of lips and hands and apologies as they were both too voracious for their own respective goods; hurting one another's damaged knees or shoulders as they bumped against doorframes or pressed too hard against the other's body.
Her desires had been fulfilled, but the obsession persisted. She didn't want Ava's body or experience any more, however; she wanted her
. These days for Evelyn, it was enough to have someone there in the night to reach out and caress lightly; a warm body in the darkness to fight off the fears.
Her worrying still endured, of course - but by each day it became less and less. Every night they spent in one another's arms had taken away a little piece of it, until Evelyn almost forgot that she had ever worried at all.
The only toxic notion that persisted at all thrived, however - it was one that Matthew had planted there; the idea that she wasn't quite enough
for her. It was the looks that made her nervous; because Ava was gorgeous, and had all her life been aware of it. Women wanted to be
her if they didn't want her, and she practically had to fight men off with a stick. Her hair didn't get its colour from a bottle twice a month as Evelyn's did, the greys at her ears and her crown only flattering her; the lines and creases of her face exaggerating her beauty rather than obscuring it. She was jealous, of course - but it was a benign breed of jealousy. Evelyn knew that even in her age she was still a handsome woman, and even so, she looked how she looked; she had learned not to let perfect be the enemy. The real cancer was the fear of losing her because, even though she wasn't unattractive, she could never be as much - because after the ordeal in Paris, she had the physique of a corpse from her sudden drop of weight; she could hardly walk; and she was covered in those hideous, angry red scars
...Whilst she couldn't say it had broken her mentally, it had fucked her up, and it had ravaged her body to the point that she hardly recognised her own reflection.
But that loss never came; they never had a do-over of her conversation with Matthew. That man had been hyper-critical - he had made no secret about how he had left her because he couldn't stand the sight of her, and because her panic attacks in the night were too much for him to cope with. "You live from self-induced crisis to self-induced crisis, and expect me to scrape you up off the floor, hold your stupid little hand, and tell you that everything's okay in between them - it's blatant attention-whoring."
That conversation had been the nail in the coffin; the final thing that had destroyed whatever fragment of self-confidence she had still possessed after the surgeon's knife had left its mark on her; and the drugs had caused her to vomit up everything she swallowed - knocking about two stone off of her weight; and her hair had turned almost entirely white in the space of a few months. Naturally, she had believed that his words were all that love could offer her; teaching her in the process that she was now fundamentally unloveable.
But rather than turning her back to her and settling back to sleep with a moan to alert Evy of how much of an inconvenience she was being, Avalon was nothing shy of a saint - holding her until the shakes went away; staying awake with her on the nights that she was too terrified to sleep; teaching her how to love the scars that marked her form. She remembered the way that she had lain with her back to her paramour; stoic as she cried, too afraid of pissing her off and admitting to her weakness - and Ava had turned onto her side, kissing her arms as she embraced her.
That night had taught her something; that the reason for loving someone shouldn't be a desire for a piece of arm candy.
She gave up on her denial after about six moths of pretending that she would call it quits after one more night, or one more week. Her every pathetic attempt at querying their romance had been stopped before it was started by Ava's razor tongue, and she had stopped trying.
That one morning when Matthew had let himself in to demand something-or-other from her; Avalon had been dotting about the kitchen making the pair of them coffee, dressed in a shirt and not much else; Evelyn's lipstick from the previous night still smeared halfway across her face - Evelyn herself, leaning on a bar stool in her underwear, had frozen solid at the sight of him; but Ava had no such nerves. She had greeted him with a sardonic: "Morning, sweet-cheeks," an almost coy smile on her face as she continued trying to figure out the workings of Evy's espresso machine; not dignifying his rudeness with a look.
"I...Who the fuck are you?"
She had responded flawlessly smooth; without a stutter, or even much of a pause between his words and hers. "I'm your replacement, dolls."
That was the last time they had seen him; the incident that had cemented the fact that perhaps their love was for keeps after all.
The heart wants what it wants, as they say; they became fundamental components to one another's happiness - they complimented one another. And soon Evelyn's fantasy of a midsummer night's fling became more grandiose; she wanted more
. But not sex - never that; never physical intimacy. Rather their closeness; more domestic. Her fears of commitment were utterly gone. Moving in together; getting a dog...it was too late in the day for both of them for kids, but Evelyn had her son and her daughter - the only good things to come from Marriage No. 1 - so perhaps grandkids one day. Her dreams of a few nights in bed became an insatiable desire just to live
...to grow old hand in hand.
"Who the fuck taught you to waltz?" Ava grinned, speaking through her gravelly laugh as the pair of them swayed on the kitchen floor in their tights; old enough to drink, but apparently not old enough to dance like adults. Evelyn pulled herself ever-closer, grinding her rear end into the hand that pressed against it.
"My husband," a bitchy beam; a squawk of a laugh. It was Ava's terrible music playing over the hi-fi; she was finding it difficult to keep a straight face as they ground against each other's hips, Charlene bawling about how she had been to paradise but never herself in the background.
"Figures," she sniffed; laughter still playing in her voice. "We're waltzing, darling, we're not supposed to be this close." A wicked smile alighting her face, Evelyn pulled herself in so close that their breasts pressed together; revelling in the bemused expression which came over Avalon's face.
"We are now," she responded cockily; her grace short-lived as she tripped over Ava's foot, and brought them both to the ground.
Ava propped herself up on one elbow, grinning up at her. "I told you so, Evelyn."
"Oh, fuck off."
"Come on," she pulled her to her feet, taking her hand as she took her waist. "Let's try again...A bit further apart this time."
"You liked it, you slut," Evelyn gave a throaty chuckle, biting her lip somewhat as she placed a hand on Ava's backside; the other woman grasped it and pulled it up a few inches.
"Beside the point," she smiled as they drunkenly shuffled around the tiles; Evy ducking under Ava's trim arm in a shaky twirl.
Evelyn grinned bolshily, and with this she leaned forward clumsily, kissing the corner of her mouth, and eventually then her lips as she found them. Ava kissed her back. She’d expected her to, but when she went to pull away, she followed and kissed her again. Her second kiss was as light as the first, but when Evy pulled back to look at her, her eyes were closed; her face was soft. When she lifted her hand to her cheek, she turned her head into it and kissed her palm. Evelyn opened her mouth to Avalon; felt her as she took the invitation - the soft press of their tongues against each other. The knuckles of their joined hands were white as they gripped each other tightly; mindlessly pulling themselves closer to the other's body.
They came away for breath; a few strains of Ava's coppery hair had broken free from the clasped updo at the back of her head - Evy reached up to swipe a few of the unruly hairs away from her forehead. "I'm jealous of your bastard husband," Ava spoke through a beam that split her face virtually from one ear to the other. "How come he deserved twenty years of this, and I only get a measly few months?" She dipped her mouth in to indulge in Evelyn's again. The blonde let go of her hand, drawing her closer; feeling the muscles and curvatures of her body beneath her shirt. She broke off momentarily.
"You have no idea..." Then she let her lips glide over Avalon's jawline before finding her mouth again.
"Oh yes I do," she smiled, pulling away again. "Discontented mother, regimented wife..." she sung teasingly, spinning around as she held Evy by the hips; pulling her in a circle with her.
"Your taste is abysmal," Evelyn laughed again, bringing her arms around Ava's shoulders, wobbling a touch as she stood on her toes.
"Don't give me that face, Evelyn," she grinned. "Or I'll have to slap it off before I become violently ill." Her lipstick was visible on Evelyn's face, and she reached to wipe it away. "Jesus, you're about to say something sappy...I can just sense it."
"Well, I'm not now, you ungrateful bitch," she let go of her, stony-faced; before softening again. "Come on...Show me how to dance again, would you? I liked that."
She took one of Ava's hands, placing the other one on her shoulder, this time standing the proper distance away; only to be taken by surprise when Ava caught her by the hips and pulled her forward until their stomachs pressed together. One long arm wrapped around her waist, holding her close to the warm body that possessed it; sneaking a grab of her buttock as it went.
"Didn't you learn anything?" she murmured as she tilted Evelyn's face up towards hers, leaning down until her mouth was a hair's breadth away. "That's not how you waltz..."
Evelyn grinned. This was a glorious affair indeed. And what she once feared she could never have, she prayed would last.