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Lara walked into her apartment still pondering what she should do. She did love Dana, but could she BE with her? She was proud that she didnt have to hide in a closet and fear the thoughts or actions of others. She had fought all of her battle and had the scars to prove it. She had a scar in her mind from prejudices of co-workers and people who didnt even know her. One over her heart from where her so-called friends couldnt or wouldnt understand her attraction to women, but the largest, most visible one that still could bring her to tears, cut the deepest of all. It was the one that sliced her soul in half, the one that was left when her family rejected her. She had been through ***** and came out on the other side feeling like a war veteran that had lost everything. She had finally started to feel happy after she had moved to LA and found a sous chef position at a prestigious club. She had become ecstatic when she had seen the most beautiful woman God had created, at least in her opinion, playing tennis. She felt like life had been breathed back into her body when she saw Dana. She was ready to do battle again for this woman, bare the pain and scars once again. She had never imagined that it would be this woman who she would have defended with her life who cut her heart out.
The light flashing on her answering machine caught the corner of her eye. She cautiously crossed the room and pressed play. Hoping that she did call, but dreading it all the same.
Hello Ms. Perkins, this is AT&T
Message erased. She couldnt stand sales calls.
Hey Lara, this is Deborah. Havent heard from you in a while, gimme a call sometime.
Then there it wasthe voice that stop time for her. Lara, its me. Her heart stopped beating, she couldnt breathe. Please call me. I really need to talk to you. I need you. Lara finally released the breath from her lungs. She could hear the tears in Danas voice. Her mind was telling her dont do it, while her heart, aching with each beat, was telling her call her, talk to her. The battle was being waged within, the phone in her hand, her eyes on the rose.
Knock, knock, knock.
Lara nearly jumped out of her skin. Who could it be. It couldnt be she rushed to the door, her heart now pounding in her throat, her mind racing. The door flung open to reveal Laras visitor, a small boy that she didnt recognize.
Can I help you?
He couldnt have been more than six or seven. His ice blue eyes gazed up in awe to this tall woman to her face. As his head tilted back and his mouth began to open, he pulled something from behind his back. A beautiful rose for a beautiful lady, he stuttered out. With that, he handed Lara a perfect white rose and a note. He had said it just like the lady had asked him too and a smile spread from ear to ear.
Tears filled Laras eyes for the umpteenth time today. Thank youwho, where, but before she could finish, the boy ran off down the hall. Deep down, Lara knew who. She began to read the note as the door shut and she headed towards the couch.
My Beautiful Lara,
This perfect white rose doesnt begin to compare to you. You are the most beautiful thing in my life and I dont want to loose that. The first rose was to let you know how deep my love was for you. This rose is to represent the purity of my feelings for you. Please talk to me, dont shut me out. I feel as I would die if I could never speak to you again, feel your breathe on my skin, have you caress my body. My heart aches knowing that I hurt you. My hands want to feel your body, my arms want to wrap around you and never let go, my lips wish to taste your sweet skin once again. Please allow our love to prevail over this mess that I have created.
Tears unashamedly fell from Laras eyes. She gazed at both of the beautiful roses that lay before her. A smile began to creep across her face as she picked up the phone once again, this time turning it on. As she was beginning to dial Danas cell phone number, she heard another knock at the door. She figured that it was the little boy again. As she dialed the last number, she opened the door to a delivery of two dozen roses, one dozen red, the other white. She couldnt see the delivery person because the arrangement was so large. That is when she heard a familiar ring. The flowers began a descent to reveal eyes that were full of tears, full of hope. She immediately hung up the phone, but her feet couldnt move. They felt as if they were made of lead. Finally, after what seemed an eternity, the shock wore off and she took the flowers from Dana.
Uhumm, the words Lara wanted to speak were caught by the lump that had formed in her throat. So she opened the door wider to allow Dana to gain entrance.
As Dana stepped just inside the door, she could feel the tension. If you would like me to leave, I will. I just wantedno I needed to see you again. A single tear escaped Danas right eye. She quickly wiped it away, hoping that Lara hadnt seen it.
No, come in. The words finally made their way out of Laras mouth.
Thanks. Dana was in her protective shell. She seemed like a little girl searching for someone to help her. It felt like the tension became greater with each step she took into Laras apartment, but she knew that it would only get worse before it would get better. As she began to speak, her voice had a nervous crack in it. IumI want you to know that I will be sorry for the rest of my life for the way I treated you the other night. But I also know that each time that I say it out loud, you will think that it is loosing its sincerity. I know that it took a lot for you to let me in the door, Dana couldnt believe that she was saying this, being so bold. It seemed like Alice and Shane were being channeled through her somehow and I thank you for that.
Please let me finish before I loose my nerve, her eyes pleading with Lara.
I know that you probably never want to see me or talk to me, and I totally understand that. I know that I have already received one chance and dont deserve another, but I cant imagine my life without you in it. She saw Laras eyes divert downward, she felt that just maybe Lara felt the same way. Could you allow us to start totally over? Start from the beginning, have another first date? Or could I at least take you to the dinner that we never got to enjoy?
I dont know if I can start over. I do know one thing, we cant keep going like this. I also know that not having you in my life is something that I cant live with. Danas heart began to beat with a renewed sense of life, albeit a small sense. I want to at least be your friend Dana, but like I told you before, I cant go back into a closet. I have fought too hard to get to where I am today and I want to help you get to the same place.
Friend, that is where Danas heart dropped to into the abyss. Ive lost her. I need her somehow in my life. If all she can give me is friendship, that is what I will have to live with.
It is going to take a lot of work from both of us, but maybe one day we can make it to where this relationship was headed.
What did she just saymaybe we could make it one day? Oh my God, Iwe have a chance then. Lara, you dont know what this means to me. I have prayed for this more times than you can imagine. II dont know what else to say.
Well, you did say something about dinner and I havent eaten in about two days. A small crooked smile could be seen through the hair that surrounded Laras downward face.
Actually, Danas voice sounded like she had just won the lottery, I have made reservations for us. I know that it was presumptuous, but I had to have some hope somewhere. She looked at her watch, and we have just enough time for you to change so we can get to Malibu.
Yeah, it is a surprise, so hurry up so we can get there. Danas was now acting like a kid in a candy store. She new they had to get to the restaurant before sunset.
The drive to the restaurant was filled with small talk and periods of silence. Dana had wanted to hold Laras hand, but she didnt want to push her luck. She had gotten the woman that inhabited her dreams to agree to at least dinner. They drove along PCH for a while and finally stopped.
How did you get reservations here? Lara inquired enthusiastically.
Well, I may not be a superstar yet, but it does pay to know the owner. Dana couldnt help but laugh, as did Lara. Dana hopped out of the car and opened Laras door for her. I know this is just the beginning of a long road, but I want the road to be paved as smoothly as it can be.
Lara gazed into Danas eyes as she stepped out of the car and their look never broke as they both heard the car door shut. I have heard nothing but wonderful things about this place, it is suppose to have a gorgeous view. I hope they seat us where we can see it.
Dana had to look away, she knew they were going to get the best seat in the house. They walked into the restaurant and were greeted by the hostess. Welcome to Geoffreys, do you have a reservation?
Yes we do, Fairbanks.
Oh yes, Ms. Fairbanks, I am sorry, we were told that you were coming. Right this way.
They crossed the restaurant, which wasnt very big on the inside, getting closer to the picturesque windows, but they didnt stop. They actually walked to the outdoor area, where most all of the seating was and were seated at a table along the outer rail that was considered to have the best view.
Your server will be with you momentarily. I hope you enjoy your experience here with us.
Thank you, Im sure we will. Dana answered for both of them.
Dana, this view is spectacular. The waterfall, the jagged cliffs that lead to the coastline, its just beautiful. I cant believe you did this.
Wait until you see the sunset. This is supposed to be one of the most romantic restaurants in the LA/Malibu area. I hope you dont mind. Dana was a little hesitant, she didnt know how Lara would react to the prospect of a romantic restaurant.
No, this is perfect. I have always wanted to come here with someone special, but I hadnt found that special someone or had the money to spare
She hadnt found that special someone, maybe this was a mistake. Danas thoughts were negative until she heard the next part.
until you came into my life. Lara reached across the table and gently placed her hand over Danas and looked longingly into her eyes. She knew that she would never be able to get this wonderfully shy and awkward woman out of her life, her thoughts, her soul.
Dana looked down as she smiled. Laras words had made her blush. She didnt know what she had done to deserve someone like Lara, so beautiful, loving and, thank goodness, forgiving. Laras blue eyes were piercing her soul and she couldnt help but fall even deeper in love with this woman at that very moment.
Good evening, my name is James, I will be your server tonight. May I get you a drink?
The trance both women were in was broken by his voice. I will have some white wine, Lara?
I will have the same.
I will be right back with your drinks and to take your order. James couldnt help but smile at the interaction that was taking place before him. He could actually feel the love that flowed between these two women.
The evening continued, as both women spoke, but never really talked. They would save that for a more appropriate time. They were so enthralled with each other, they almost missed the sunset over the ocean. The oranges, mauves and the clouds. They felt as if they were looking at a painting, nothing else was more beautiful, except the woman sitting across from each of them.
After dessert, Dana paid the bill and they decided it was time to go, even though neither wanted to leave this romantic place. It seemed like a sanctuary to Dana, a new place to begin.
On the drive home, Dana was still hesitant to hold Laras hand and Lara could sense that. So she took the initiative and intertwined their fingers. The ride back to Laras was silent, yet so much was spoken. When the car stopped in front of Laras building, it almost seemed like the end to Dana. Ill walk you up. I want to make sure you are safe. Dana couldnt bear the thought that this evening, however awful the day started, was about to end. She wanted this night, this perfect date to continue, but she knew that it couldnt. They reached Laras door and Dana knew it was about to end, sadness took over her body, her head hung, Call me when you think we can continue this. I know that we still have a lot to talk about, but I dont want to push you.
Lara couldnt help but want to stop the pain, get rid of the tension that she saw and heard when Dana spoke those words. Her mind was loosing the battle to her heart and her body. It really wasnt a fair fight, after all, it was two against one. I know that we have a lot to work through and that it isnt going to be easy. I appreciate that you dont want to push the issue. You are a wonderful person and I want to thank you for tonight, it was almost perfect.
Almost? I thought it was perfect for our second first date. Dana, looking at the floor and not noticing the space between her and Lara diminishing, was trying to joke her way out of an uncomfortable position.
Yeah, almost. Perfection would be Dana never saw it coming. Lara dipped down and captured Danas mouth with her own. Danas body was pulled into Laras. It was as if they melted into one another and became one. You couldnt tell where one began and the other ended. Laras tongue coaxed Danas mouth open so it could find the way to its mate. Danas head was swimming, could she be daydreaming again? She remembered how real it felt when she was in the shower. She didnt care if it was a daydream or not, she never wanted this kiss to end, but it did and Lara spoke only two wordsCome in.