Chapter 6

Intending to spend the night didn't mean I could easily set aside the uneasy sleep I found in another's bed. Also, I would have to get the bus back to my apartment to be ready for an early class, so it wasn't surprising that I was awake and showered just after six.

Faye was in the kitchen, looking very tired. She sat at the table, in pajamas that had a button up jacket; probably convenient for breastfeeding little Maeve. She gave me a bleary smile.

"Hey, want coffee?" she asked, registering no apparent discomfort at my presence. She stood without waiting for my answer.

"Uh, sure," I said. "Could I take Heather one, too?"

"Of course," she said.

"I hope you don't mind me sleeping over," I said. "Something came up last night."

"Of course we don't mind," Faye said, as she poured the second coffee. "Erin and I are both happy to see Heather find some joy. Having her former friends turn against her has been very hard on her."

"I think I almost compounded that last night," I said. "That's why it was important for me to see her. I think we cleared the air."

Faye looked like she was about to say something, then pursed her lips in amusement. Her face might have been a half tone more pink.

"Oh God," I groaned. "We were too loud, weren't we?"

"Maeve was fussy, so I was awake," Faye said. "You didn't wake Erin, if that makes you feel better."

I guess it was a relief that Maeve, not us, had caused Faye's sleep deprivation.

There was a trace of a smile on Faye's face when she set both mugs down before me. "You'd better get this to your girlfriend right away. She probably needs it."

My girlfriend? Did Faye's expectation make it true? "Thanks," I said. "She may."

Before I picked up the coffee, I heard footsteps, then a tired-looking redhead entered the kitchen. I smiled as she took a seat at the table, then slid her coffee across to her.

"Morning Faye," she said to her older friend. "Morning, Margot."

"Hi, cutie," I replied. "I was about to bring you this and leave."

"Aww," Heather said, pouting. "So soon?"

"I need to take the bus home, and I have an early class Tuesdays," I said.

"Can I see you this evening?" she asked.

"Why don't you come to my place?" I suggested. "I'll make dinner. What?" I objected, as she gave me a disbelieving look. "You didn't think I'd be able to cook?" I grinned as her cheeks turned a little pink. "Anyone can cook with chicken helper, right?"


It wasn't chicken helper, but it was chicken. I made a chicken and mushroom casserole for four. I'd texted my roommates and they'd both opted in.

There were still a few minutes' baking time left when Heather arrived, but as soon as I saw her face I lost interest in preparing the food. She was as white as paper. I steered her through to my room and sat her on the bed.

"Heather, what is it?" I asked.

She shook her head, then put her arms around me and burst into tears. I looked around for tissues, finding a box to give to her, but my shoulder was damp with those she missed, and her face was red and blotchy when she blew her nose on another tissue.

It was the second time I'd seen her face look anything other than perfect; the first being after she'd been bullied by her roommates. Paradoxically, it warmed my heart that she'd let me see her like this.

When my phone's timer pinged, I excused myself to turn off the heat and open the oven, then returned to my room to hold her. We could warm up the casserole whenever, just like my roomies.

"Heather?" I tried again, my voice soft.

She sniffled against my shoulder for a couple more minutes, then said, "I called my parents."

"Awww, honey," I said. "What happened?"

"I... I tried to get ahead of the story from my roomies," she said. "I guess they hadn't heard what happened, but they knew most of it. Someone had already told them they thought I was g-gay."

I hugged her to me.

"I tried to avoid telling them the details, but it was no good." She sobbed for another minute before continuing. "Dad said I need to go back home right now, and they're cutting off all my rent money and my credit card."

"Are you going to go home?" I asked, nervous as I awaited her answer.

"I told him no," she said. "I told him he couldn't bribe me to be something I wasn't, and since he couldn't accept me as I am, I wouldn't be going home at all."

I let out a sigh of relief I didn't realize I'd been holding.

"Then I hung up and broke down. Again," she said. "I just curled up on my bed until it was time to catch the bus to see you."

I hugged her more tightly.

"I'll find a job," she said. "I'll get a loan if I must. I only have one more year, and I want to stay here after I graduate, so I may as well try to find work here."

She drew back a little from me, and I took a tissue and wiped around her eyes. She gave me a watery smile, then took another tissue and blew her nose again.

"I already have one application," she said, with an ironic chuckle. "I thought I might need it, even before I called them."

"Really?" I asked. "Where?"

"I went to the coffee shop this afternoon. They were very busy, and they had a hiring notice up, so I asked about it," she said. "I'll take the form back to them tomorrow when the shift supervisor is there."

"Will I get discounts if you get the job?" I asked, trying to lighten the mood.

"They'll probably charge you double for distracting me," she said.

"Good to know you think I'll be a distraction."

"Thank you, Margot," she said.

"For what?" I asked. "I haven't done anything."

"You were here for me," she said. "Again."

"Always," I replied, realizing with a shock that I meant it. "Let me get you fed, then we'll talk more."

"Okay," she said, unenthusiastically.

"It's just you and me for another hour or two," I told her. "We can eat in the kitchen. No one will disturb us."

She brightened at that. "Alright."

"Oh, wow," Heather said, after she tried the casserole. "You really can cook."

"Mmm," I agreed. "I had to improvise, too. The recipe calls for sherry, but the liquor store won't sell to me."

"You should have had me pick it up for you," Heather said, with a brief smile.

"Really? You're over twenty-one?"

"I'm twenty-two," she said.

"What?" I yelped. "No way."

"I took a year off," she said, "and I'm on the older side of my intake year. I turned twenty-two three months ago."

"Oh, my God!" I exclaimed. "You cougar!"

"I am not!" she retorted, with a laugh. "How old are you?"

"I turn twenty-one in a couple of months," I said. "You're almost eighteen months older than me!"

"Does that bother you?" asked Heather, beginning to look worried.

"Of course it doesn't," I said, grinning at her concern. "One of us has to be older, after all."

"And I give the impression of being younger than my age," Heather said, with a sigh. "No, don't contradict me. It's always been true. It just makes it ironic that I'm older than most seniors and I still let my parents treat me like a child."

"Not this time," I said.

"Not this time," Heather agreed, though her voice quavered.

I covered the casserole and put it back in the oven, then let Heather help wash the plates, since she insisted, before we went back to my room.


"Something else is bothering you, isn't it?" I asked Heather. We were sitting side-by-side on my bed.

She nodded and looked away.

"You're not going to make me play twenty questions for it, are you?"

She shook her head.

"Are you going to tell me?" I coaxed, after another minute.

She nodded, so I waited.

"In the last few days," she said. Her voice cracked, so she cleared her throat and started over. "In the last few days, you've been there for me, with my roomies, and moving, and now with my parents. You've m-made love to me, and made me feel special. I said I didn't need to depend on you, but I'm starting to think that I depend on you too much."

"Heather, honey," I said, wrapping an arm around her shoulder, "I'm here for you. I want to be here for you."

"I said I'd wait to see what we become to each other. I feel like I'm pressuring you," she said. "What if I depend on you and we..." Her words trailed off. She didn't seem to want to give voice to her thought.

I did it for her. "Don't work out? Don't stay together?"

Heather nodded.

"I've never really felt that I want to stay with someone before," I said, "so this is a little strange to me, but are we in a relationship now? I think we are, and it's one I want to keep."

"We went on a date," Heather said, "and we've h-had sex. I like you. I want to be with you. I want to be in a relationship with you. But is it something you can even do?"

"Well, that's the trick, isn't it?" I drawled. "I think so. I guess I should say I hope so, because I want to be with you." I grinned at her. "Also, I want more dates and more sex."

Heather chuckled, then said, "I do, too."

"So if we admit we're..." It was my turn to stumble over the word for a new concept. "That we're girlfriends, then it's okay if you need me for support, right? It's not like I've solved any problems for you. You're the one who's strong. You stood up to your roomies, and you stood up to your parents. But you don't have to deal with the stress alone. Let me help you with that. I'm not going anywhere."

"For how long?" Heather asked, still dubious.

"It scares me to say it," I admitted, "but I'm thinking... maybe for a long time. It would have been weird for me to say that just two weeks ago, but I don't think I can go back to that version of Margot. Ever since our coffee date I've had the strongest feeling that you matter to me. I don't think anyone has ever really mattered to me before, and I don't want to lose that."

Heather nodded. "That makes two of us," she said. "You're important to me, Margot. I feel like I can trust you. I just hope that I don't become a burden to you."

"I want you to lean on me," I said. "I also want you to stay strong. You need to face the world, but you don't need to do it alone."

"Can I stay with you tonight?" she asked.

"Of course you can. My bed's not as comfortable as yours, but we'll both fit."

"Right, because you have tested its capacity before, right?"

Her tone was amused, with no apparent jealousy. I decided not to mention that the last girl I tested it with was Anita. I wouldn't lie to Heather, but she didn't need details. Unless she asked. "Uh, yeah, possibly," I said.

Heather squirmed away from me and took out her phone. "I'll let Faye know not to worry about me," she said.

"I can find you clothes for tomorrow and a spare toothbrush," I said.

"Is that something you've tested, too?" she asked.

"I can honestly say no," I replied. "Casual friends don't tend to stay the night. Also, I think my clothes would be too long on anyone else."

Heather's phone pinged. She smiled as she looked at it, then showed me the screen.

Heather: "I'm staying the night with Margot. Don't worry about me."

Faye: "Yay!"


"What embarrassing underwear are you wearing today?" I murmured to Heather as we held each other.

"I'm not!" she replied.

"No underwear? Even better," I replied.

"No! I mean, they're not embarrassing!" she insisted.

I grinned. "Then you won't mind taking your jeans off so we can snuggle," I said. I kicked off my shoes and unhooked my skirt.

"Oh, uh...alright," she said, dubiously, and began to unfasten her jeans.

Climbing past Heather onto the narrow bed, I unhooked my bra, slipping it through the armholes of my tank top.

Folding her jeans neatly, Heather gave me a dubious look. "I never tried to do that," she said.

"Sit on the side of the bed," I instructed. When she did, I lifted her tee shirt, unfastened her bra, then showed her how to slip it over her arms in turn, until she held it, then set it with her jeans.

"Your undies may not have cartoon characters, but they're anything but bland," I said, eyeing the fluorescent green garment that lifting her tee had exposed.

Heather colored. "I'm always so nervous about what to wear that I never take risks," she said, slipping her feet under the sheet beside me. "Wearing fun underwear helps me feel I'm not completely lost to conservative clothes, in a safe way because no one else will see them."

I took Heather in my arms as she finished getting under the sheet, and she lay her head on my shoulder.

"Except you failed in keeping them hidden," I argued.

"Did not," she stated. "I succeeded in letting someone I trust share the joke. Even if I avoid taking risks in public, if you're close enough to me to see my undies, you must know that I'm not as uptight as I seem."

"You've never seemed uptight to me," I told her, honestly. "You may be too shy to express yourself as much as you'd like, but you don't seem cold, or prudish. I worry that when you do come out of your shell you might not need me. Which may be a good thing, but will you still want me?"

Heather lay against my right side. I managed to wrap both arms around far enough to reach the small of her back, inside her tee, and held her close. When she chuckled, she quivered against me. It was a pleasant sensation. "I don't think you need to worry about that, Margot," she said. "I like you. If I come to need you less, I'm not going to stop liking you. I..." her words faltered for a second. "I don't think my heart will stop needing you."

Her words kindled an unfamiliar feeling within me. Something that contained both warmth and a thrill of excitement. "That makes me feel very special, Heather," I said. "Thank you. I like you too."

I hugged her closer. After a few minutes, I asked, "Are you comfortable?"

"Mmhmm," came a very contented sounding voice.

"There's one thing we should talk about," I said. "Will it bother you that I won't be joining your church?"

"No," said Heather, without hesitation. "Will it bother you that I won't be leaving?"

"Not at all," I said. "They seem like good people."

"They are," Heather said, "and you might even like to come to the social events, but I won't push if you don't want to. The girl who introduced me to them said she thought she'd burst into flame if she crossed the threshold, but even she seemed happy with my choice."

I chuckled. Holding Heather to me felt very cozy. "If she thought that, why did she introduce you?"

"She knew I had to get out of where I was, and she knew Faye, indirectly," Heather said. "She came with me to be sure I wouldn't be uncomfortable with strangers, but I wasn't." She grinned. "And she didn't burst into flame."

"That was your lover?" I asked.

"Sophie, yes," Heather replied. "Does it bother you that I have fond memories of her, and no regrets?"

"Oh, honey," I said, tightening my hug for a moment. "I know I can be a hypocrite, but I hope I never hold your past intimacies against you. That would so bite me in the ass."

Heather laughed, her body shaking gently against mine again. "I guess that's true. She recognized what was happening to me. Who I was. She showed me why I was unhappy, and what would bring me joy. Without her, I wouldn't have found you. I think I'll always love her a little bit, for all of that."

"I'm glad, Heather," I said.

I had moved my left hand higher on her back, under her tee and was caressing her soft skin. She wriggled a little, turning her face so that her lips touched my ear. "Are you trying to get your hand inside my shirt?" she whispered. "And if not, don't you think it's time you did?"

I grinned, though Heather wouldn't have been able to see. Tracing the finger of my left hand over her back, I said, "Technically, I think it's already inside. The issue is where, isn't it?"

With that I drew my fingernails lightly over her side, making her wriggle. She was slightly ticklish. I'd file that knowledge away.

My fingers continued inward, over her breast. Then I cupped her breast and began to squeeze it quite hard.

Heather groaned. "Why does everything you do feel so good?" she asked.

Treating her question as rhetorical, I parted my legs, then moved my right hand to her ass, squeezing it, coaxing her right leg to settle between my thighs, which let me raise my right leg a couple of inches, slipping it between hers and twisting my hip just enough that my body pressed firmly against her pussy.

I released Heather's breast, slipping my hand out of her shirt, then moved both hands under her shoulders, where I could lift her up and set her atop me. She grinned, then sought my lips with her own.

With my hands still on her rib cage I moved her against me. Her breasts rolled against mine as I drew her further into the kiss, then let her slide, feeling her sex press against me.

After I'd repeated the motion in a slow rhythm for a minute or two, I felt Heather groan softly into the kiss. Her breathing grew heavier, and she began to rock her hips, moving herself against my body without my help. Freed of the need to continue the motion, I moved my hands between us, grasping her breasts through her shirt, my thumbs pressing her nipples. When Heather pressed into the kiss, the pressure of my breasts on hers pushed my thumbs firmly into her nipples. When she relaxed, I moved my thumbs, rolling her nipples around, which made her catch her breath and press her pussy harder against me.

Of course my thumbs were moving against my own nipples too, sending intriguing feelings down to my clit, and Heather seemed to sense my excitement as her kiss demanded ever more from me. Her bucking against me was bouncing the bed enough to make it creak. Not loudly, and the feet of the bed remained firmly on the floor and silent, but enough to make the cheap springs rasp together under tension.

My own arousal was climbing. Something about being with Heather was qualitatively different than the casual fucking that had been the high point of my social interaction before I'd met her. Technically, Heather still had much to learn about how to please a woman, but her eagerness took the intimacy to a new level. And not just her eagerness, but the warmth and affection that had grown between us gave a depth to my lust that was entirely new to me.

Our controlled - if overly vigorous - bouncing began to become ungainly as passion overcame coordination. We writhed together rather than bucked. I wrapped my left leg around hers to crush her against my sex, while she whimpered into the kiss, breaking it occasionally to gasp for breath.

Heather's hands roamed my waist and ribs, then gripped the sides of my breasts, my own hands preventing her from cupping them. Which didn't stop the feeling of her hands on me stoking the fires in my clit.

Suddenly she arched her back, groaned, "Oh God," then tensed. I pinched her nipples hard and she shuddered, then started to moan in release.

I wasn't quite there, but I was close. I quickly moved my hands to Heather's ass, then ground myself against her until I felt the fire spread through my body, coming hard against my girlfriend.

Heather was still quivering with aftershocks as my body pulsed beneath hers, and I groaned at the intensity of our clumsy lovemaking.