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A friend came over for lunch the other day as I was painting the den and as I hate painting with as much passion as I hate my ex husband I was only too willing to down the paintbrush and make some lunch. I have an abiding respect for Caroline Mullins. She’s the only member of my ex husband’s congregation to stay in contact with me. The rest of those ‘so-called’ Christians have all decided that hating the fag is more biblical than loving your neighbor. We got to talking about our kids, our jobs and the new love in my life, Special Agent Elizabeth Kelley. Apparently my coming out has scandalized the church and my ex husband has been forced to step down as pastor, he’s gathered a bunch of misogynists around him as he ramps up the anti-gay rhetoric to fever pitch, goaded on no doubt by his new followers.

He left a fragmented church behind him, half of whom think he was set up and the other half are glad he’s gone but there is no forgiveness in their hearts for yours truly. I may be the scorned woman but I’m also a gay woman and according to their twisted logic, even being seen in my company is a crime against God. I did my best to comfort her and when she left I called Elizabeth and let it all out, the whole stinking mess. She listened carefully without interruption, one of her many talents.

“Why don’t you write the story of how we got together? I know you’ve got your novel to work on but it might be a pleasant interlude and give you some fresh ideas.”

So here I am, sitting with a head full of memories and my laptop. I remember vividly the moment I first laid eyes on Elizabeth. It was in the foyer of a hotel in Milwaukee. I’d been staying there for the last three days whilst attending a writer’s conference nearby but checked out that Sunday morning intending to go straight from the venue to the airport. However, Mother Nature had other ideas. The blizzard that had been sweeping south hit Milwaukee about noon. The weather channel had predicted it would probably swing past the city and head further east but they got it wrong and I got stranded.

I was still officially married then, although I’d declared my intention to divorce him before I flew out of Phoenix three days previously but Daniel was having a hard time coping with the fact that his ‘ever loving’ wife had decided to leave him. Didn’t I have any idea what he was going through?

“And what about the kids?”

I grimaced as I made my way to the front desk with an ear piece plugged in and the cell in my hand, I must have looked a sight with my hair covered in a thick woolen hat and my petite figure hidden beneath a thick overcoat and scarf. My face was red and my voice was raised an octave or two as I cut him off.

“So, now you’re thinking about the kids,” I snapped, “about time, we have three children, Toni, Ashley and David. Do you want me to tell you their birthdays?”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“It means, asshole that while you were running around saving the world and screwing that little slut, your faithful wife was raising three children and telling them that their daddy loved them even if he couldn’t be with them. But seeing as we’re talking about the children, you can look after David and Ashley for another night, this blizzard has shut down the airport.”

“No problem, I’m praying for you.”

“Bite me,” I ended the call and looked at the receptionist, “sorry, honey I’m not talking to you,” I pocketed the cell. “Um, is it possible to book a room again, just for tonight? I was here for three days but checked out this morning.”

The woman’s face registered tired resignation.

“I’m really sorry, madam,” the woman shot me a sympathetic look, “I’m afraid we’re all booked but if you hang around the lobby you’ll find some people cancel at the last moment. So many flights have been canceled we’re bound to have a vacant room soon. We just had one cancellation twenty minutes ago but it was snapped up straight away.”

A tall brunette in a trouser suit was propped on the counter next to me, she’d been talking to the receptionist when I approached. She too looked sympathetic.

“Where’s home?”

“Phoenix, Arizona,” I replied and took a step back.

“No way,” the woman smiled, “I’m from Phoenix,” she parted her jacket to reveal the FBI badge tucked into the waistband of her trousers.

I stared at the badge and then looked up at her as every cliché F.B.I line popped into my head. She was half a head taller and built for speed, even though she too was rugged up against the cold. I eyed the badge again and managed a tight smile.

“Okay,” I replied.

“Look, I’ve got a spare double bed,” she nodded at the receptionist, “you can grab that bed if you like, it’s only going to waste.”

Now that was unexpected. I stared at her and then the receptionist but she wasn’t saying anything and eventually I sighed and looked up at her.

“Hey, thanks but I really can’t, it’s not fair.”

“It’s cool,” she nodded at my suitcase, “look it’s blowing a gale out there, you can either take this woman’s Ankara Rus Escort advice and just sit over there and wait for a canceled room or you can grab that case and come on up. I ain’t going to bite you.”

“And this is all legal?” I glanced at the receptionist and she nodded.

“Sure thing, we can’t ask guests to share rooms but if she’s willing to share her room there’s no extra charge.”

That took the wind out of my sails but I could sense the woman was losing interest or perhaps she just picked up on my nervousness.

“Okay,” I replied, “as long as we’re not getting anyone into trouble,” I paused, “don’t you guys travel in pairs?”

“We do, my partner is in another room but if you like I’ll introduce you to him. I’m Special Agent Kelley but you can call me Elizabeth seeing as we’ll be sharing a room.”

“Gail,” I replied.

“Shall we?” Elizabeth gestured.

“And you’re sure this isn’t breaking federal regulations?” I asked as we stood in front of the elevators a minute or two later.

“Oh, it’s probably not best practice but not against the law, so what’s your second name?”

“Lovett, for now.”

“For now,” Elizabeth glanced at me as the elevator pinged.

“I’m getting divorced but I haven’t filled out the paperwork yet,” I turned to the doors as they hissed open. Two couples and a few other people filed out, they looked tired and worn out.

“I’m sorry to hear that,” Elizabeth waved me forward a few moments later, “divorce is always a shitty thing.”

“Yeah,” I stepped forward, “but in my case it’s probably a good thing, maybe now I can actually move forward.”

Elizabeth pushed a button and then propped against the railing, the doors closed and then opened a moment later to admit a young couple. Judging by their body language they were either newly weds or very much in love. Nothing much was said until they reached the third floor and Elizabeth waved me forward again, and just as the doors closed the couple started kissing each other.

“At least someone’s getting it,” I sighed.

“This way,” Elizabeth gestured, “I’ll introduce you to my colleague first.”

Agent Tom Barnes looked very young, I thought he was in his mid twenties. He was obviously her subordinate because he stood quickly when we entered the room.

“Hey,” his eyes shifted to the laptop, “I was just catching up on the bulletin.”

“Why?” Elizabeth smiled, “ain’t nothing happening tonight, go back to Minecraft. Um, this is Gail, and this fine specimen is Agent Barnes, Gail will be staying in my room while this storm blows over. I’m not sure what your dinner plans are but you’re a free man.”

“I was just going to order room service.”

“Whatever,” she moved to the window, “we’ll check online tomorrow morning, I’ll call the office and give them an update,” she turned to the door. “I’m going to head upstairs to the restaurant, I want at least one decent meal today.”

With that we left the room and went across the hall to Elizabeth’s room.

“Well, here it is, two beds and that one’s mine,” she pointed to the one closest to the window.

“Thank you for this, I really appreciate this.”

“No problem,” she moved to the bed and sat down, “glad to be of assistance as they say.”

I pulled off my hat and unbuttoned my coat.

“I’d hate to be out in that tonight.”

“You and me both,” Elizabeth replied as she shrugged off her overcoat.

“So what brings you to Brew City or is that a secret?”

“It’s work related and yeah, it’s part of an ongoing investigation so I can’t reveal more.”

“I understand,” I took out my cell, “I better text my oldest daughter and the other two to let them know I’m okay,” I looked up briefly, “I better not tell them I’m staying with the F.B.I, they’ll think I’ve finally gone over the edge.”

Elizabeth smiled at that and when I’d sent the messages I put the cell down and stared out the window.

“So, are you married?”

“Nope,” Elizabeth replied, “I was with someone up until a year ago but it ended.”

“He didn’t cheat on you, did he?”

“No, she didn’t,” Elizabeth replied, “we were together for nearly ten years but eventually we just grew apart, it’s my fault,” she stopped as she looked at me, “something I said?”

“Sorry, I’m not smiling at that so much,” I bit my lip, “it’s just the irony.”

“Define irony.”

“My husband is Reverend Lovett, Daniel Lovett,” I stopped as Elizabeth suddenly smiled.

“Oh, shit,” she ran a hand through her hair, “I didn’t realize.”

“Well of course not,” I replied, “the irony is that Toni, our eldest daughter came out to me three months ago.”

“I take it her father doesn’t know?”

“He does now,” I smiled tightly, “it was his overreaction to the news that forced me to take a step back and have a good look at the situation and that’s when I discovered things I should have known but either chose to ignore or simply overlooked.”

She moved her Yenimahalle Escort feet forward but kept her eyes locked on me.

“What kinds of things?”

“Infidelity,” I replied, “he’s been involved with a much younger woman for the year or so, but there have been others before her.”

“Oh,” Elizabeth cocked her head to one side, “kinda like throwing the first stone?”

“Yeah,” I replied, “that would be an appropriate description.”

“And Toni? How is she?”

“She’s fine,” I smiled crookedly, “her coming out brought us closer together as well. I’ve made it clear that when I get a new house that she and her girlfriend are welcome to move into their own room.”

“That’s nice,” Elizabeth smiled, “it’s just a shame her father can’t show some Christian love.”

I didn’t reply to that and she picked up her cell and tapped the home button.

“And on that pleasant note I have to grab a shower,” our eyes met, “you want to join me?”

She pinched her nose a moment later.

“I meant, join me for dinner, sorry that came out wrong.”

“Dinner with a lesbian,” I smiled crookedly, “this should be interesting. What happens if we both wear the same top?”

“Oh we have to take them off right away,” Elizabeth chuckled.

“At the same time?” I shot back and smiled, “see we can both make mistakes.”

“Point taken,” she smirked and left the room.

Dinner with a lesbian?

It was an intriguing thought, considering Toni’s situation. It wasn’t as if I had doubts about my own sexuality, but I was curious about the whole gay issue and then there was the vindictive part of me that relished rubbing his nose in it. The irony must have shown in my text to Toni because she sent back a ROFLMAO and a thumbs up emoji.

Toni: What have I started?

Gail: Um, it’s just dinner. She’s in the shower and I’m trying to find something to wear.

Toni: What are your choices?

Gail: Smart casual or relaxed casual. It looks like she’s going for the office look, seeing as she’s working.

Toni: Well, I’ll leave it up to you.

Gail: No advice?

Toni: Just relax and be yourself, you’re a single woman now or will be soon. Oh, and Nina sends her love, text me later?

Gail: Will do, love you to the moon and back.

Toni: Love you to Pluto and back.

I threw the cell on the bed and frowned at my open suitcase. I couldn’t believe I’d packed an entire suitcase and left my dresses at home. The only items I could pick out were a pair of black jeans and a white, Western style shirt. For shoes I had two pairs of flats in brown and black, the black shoes had decorative gold buckles on them. I opted for the black to go with the jeans and sat back to go through the news of the day while I waited for Elizabeth to emerge.

She came out some twenty minutes later with a towel around her head, dressed in a cream blouse and gray trousers. She cast an eye over the clothes on the bed and managed a smile.

“Nice shirt, a touch of home?”

“I wasn’t anticipating a formal dinner,” I raised an eyebrow, “so I didn’t pack a dress.”

“You and me both,” she perched on the side of the bed and unwound the towel, “but hey, it’s not really a formal dinner. We’re just two women smart enough not to go out in that,” she nodded at the window, “we’ll probably be better dressed than some of the patrons. I saw a woman in there last night in lycra. They should ban women of a certain size from wearing lycra.”

“I hope there’s no dress requirements,” I sighed as I picked up my clothes.

“I’m with the F.B.I,” she grinned crookedly, “I’ll just flash the badge and they’ll bow in unison and wave us through, failing that I’ll put you in handcuffs and pass you off as my prisoner.”

The thought caused me to laugh out loud as I made my way to the bathroom but it was not the only thought that brought a smile to my face. Many years ago in my youth I’d known another Elizabeth on a three month European vacation. The memory of that Elizabeth was particularly ironic when I considered my present situation, I’d made out with the French Elizabeth.

Truth is stranger than fiction, I mused as I toweled myself dry. I hadn’t thought about Elizabeth for years until the day my daughter came out and then my first instinct was to tell her about my gay encounter. Admittedly I was trying to dig deeper, to find out if her girlfriend was just a wild fling or something more permanent. In the end I had to concede that my daughter for reasons even she found hard to explain had been attracted to women for quite a few years. I guess if her father had known about my encounter he might have used that as an example of homosexuality being some kind of inherited illness.

Life is a circle, I decided as I fastened the shirt, it just keeps going in circles. I took some time getting ready and some twenty minutes later I considered myself presentable enough for a date with a lesbian. She ran an eye over me with approval and nodded at the door.

“Shall we?”

She wasn’t wrong about flashing her badge or the sudden ability to find a spare table in a restaurant that appeared full. The blizzard had driven all but the hardiest souls inside and we were soon sitting at a table with a drinks waiter lurking nearby.

“White or red?” Elizabeth looked over the tops of her reading glasses, “what’s so funny?”

“You,” I replied, “you look like a professor in those glasses, madam Sherlock, um, red for me.”

“Red it is,” she pursed her lips.

Elizabeth was one of the most entertaining dinner dates I think I can recall, it’s kind of obvious because of the job but even so I half expected her to be kind of guarded about her job. There were things she didn’t give away but they were the things I kind of took for granted, but her personal life was certainly an open book.

“I was from Kentucky originally but my folks moved to Nebraska when dad got a job as a park ranger. I went from being a city kid to a country kid and it was a shock to the system. The first time I saw a bear I literally screamed and dad had to fire off a warning shot but I gradually got used to being outdoors, surrounded by trees and you knew your neighbors. Back in Memphis you locked your doors at night and checked they were locked when you left.”

She was one of two girls and had two brothers.

“My big sister is straight and happily married for the second time, my younger brother is living in Manchester, England with his wife, he’s the religious nut in our family. He’s with some Christian group with roots here, and my oldest brother is an engineer in Chicago.”

“How does your religious brother cope with having a gay sister?”

“Danny prays for me,” she smiled crookedly, “and I always say, go for it, pray I find a hot woman with lots of money who can keep me in the manner to which I’d like become accustomed.”

I laughed at that and she took another mouthful of food.

“But seriously, he might be religious and all, but we’re family. He prays for me, for my other sister and brother but none of us are religious. He’s the one who went forward at a Baptist convention and gave his heart to Jesus. Danny is one of the middle children, I’m the other. One went one way and I went the other way.”

Which finally brought us around to the elephant in the room.

“I kind of slipped into the lesbian world slowly, dipped my toes with one woman I met when I was training at the Academy but she was posted to Little Rock and I got sent to Las Vegas and it was in the city of sin I really cut loose. I was hooked up with one woman after another, but now and then I’d get with a guy just to see if the wind had shifted but when I started picking up dirty socks that was the sign to get rid of him. Women are a two edged sword, on the one hand we know how women think and on the other hand we know how women think.”

She lapsed into silence for a minute or two.

“But if you ask me if I’m gay or bisexual I’d have to say gay. I’ve been approached by guys since I broke up with my girlfriend but I know it’s just sex, when I was younger it did happen but once you get past a certain age it’s like you want to be rid of the past. I was a lush in my youth, footloose and fancy free. Now I’m a thirty three year old woman with no ties and no hidden agendas. What you see is what you get,” she eyed me.

“So,” she kicked me under the table, “have I succeeded in turning you?”

I did jump at that and she smiled.

“Sorry, sometimes I can’t help myself.”

Dinner was over soon afterwards but we retired to the hotel bar because it was serving free shots for hotel guests and it had one television tuned to the news. By the sounds of things, Pennsylvania was about to get blanketed as the storm moved inexorably towards New York. The only good news was that Milwaukee had seen the last of the storm but the airports would remain closed until tomorrow night at least.

Which was perfectly okay with me. It meant one more day before I had to confront my bastard ex husband and tell him once more, to his face that the marriage was dead and buried. There was no coming back from this affair.

Was it revenge? Would that explain why Elizabeth and I ended up in bed together? There is that aspect to it. I mean I did joke about it while we were in the bar. I was checking out the men and she was checking out the women but neither of us were going to pick up that night for the obvious reason that there was a lack of privacy. Hence we confined our ‘affairs’ to the realm of fantasy and after a while I found myself checking out the women she was eying up.

“Now that one is cute,” she pointed out a Hispanic woman, “not too skinny, not too big, just right.”

The woman in question was sitting not far from the bar, she was with a man but it didn’t look as if they were together.

“Should we go introduce ourselves?”

“Maybe not,” Elizabeth sighed, “I might have to screw her in the bathroom, up against the wall.”

I winced at that and she nudged me playfully.

“Ouch, did I hit a soft spot?”

“Something like that,” I admitted, “the last time I had sex in a shower I was, no that’s just too embarrassing for words.”

“Be a damn sight easier with a woman,” she replied, “you’d have to kneel in front and hold her against the wall.”

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