From Now to You — 8

Nov. 7th, 2018

“Well… we’re in your driveway. So technically you were home before curfew. Besides, your dad’s not home this weekend, remember?”

“Yeah, but my mom is!” Stephanie responded with feigned exasperation. “She may not glare at you for bringing me home late like Dad would, but she would still ground me,” she leaned forward again and pressed her lips against the corner of Alice’s mouth, “and then where would we be?”

She caught a glimpse of Alice’s smirk before her eyes closed, lost in another kiss.

When a Stephanie bit and tugged at Alice’s bottom lip, the brunette gasped and tightened her hold on the blonde’s shoulder. With a light push, she broke the kiss, before leaning back in for a quick peck, and another, and then a third. She giggled and, when Stephanie leaned in to deepen the third peck, she leaned back just out of reach. Stephanie pouted at her.

“Put that away!”

Stephanie just pouted more and added puppy eyes. This made Alice giggle some more.

“You’re late for curfew, remember?”

Stephanie shook her head and said, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“Your mom is home and she’s going to ground you. And we don’t want that, do we?”

“No,” Stephanie grumbled and flopped back fully into her seat.

“That’s right. Because tomorrow is the Winter Formal and you’re my date. If you get grounded, all my hard work planning the evening will be wasted. And then I’ll be sad.”

“I don’t want you to be sad,” Stephanie mumbled.

“Good,” Alice said as she reached over and put a warm hand on Stephanie’s jean-clad thigh. Stephanie’s gaze was immediately drawn to it. “Now get out of my car.”

That sounded like a terrible idea to Stephanie. It was quite literally the last thing she wanted to do at the moment. With a devilish smirk, she put her hand over Alice’s that rested on her leg. “Do I have to?” she asked quietly, giving the hand on her thigh a light squeeze.

“Yes,” came the firm reply from the brunette.

Stephanie’s smirk grew wider. “Are you sure?” she asked, tugging the hand higher up her thigh.

“Uhh,” was the only sound Alice could manage. Her eyes were trained on their joined hands. The palm on Stephanie’s thigh grew infinitely hotter with anticipation.

“Because if I get out of this car,” Stephanie continued in a low, breathy voice. She slid their hands higher up her own thigh and then, to Alice’s simultaneous delight and dismay, turned them inward. She could feel the rough texture of the seam of Stephanie’s jeans that ran along her inner thigh. It scratched at the base of her fingers as Stephanie slid another centimeter higher. She could feel heat emanating from Stephanie and it was blowing her mind. “You wouldn’t be able to kiss me again for hours,” Stephanie concluded, her voice emphasized and elongated the last word.

Alice considered herself a writer with a penchant for stringing words together to convey thoughts and emotions with poetic lyricism. Likewise, she could present facts and opinions clearly and concisely. But for the life of her, at this moment, she couldn’t find any words. The timbre of Stephanie’s voice, the way it husked, made her tremble. Her hand tightened over Stephanie’s jeans of its own accord. She heard her girlfriend take in a sharp breath, no doubt as surprised as Alice was at her own action. Light brown eyes stared into her own, pupils blown.

Stephanie suddenly felt like she had lost at her own game. The hand that was pushing Alice’s towards her center teasingly had halted when the brunette squeezed her thigh. It now pressed hard against the top of Alice’s hand, afraid to let go lest it venture even higher or, heaven forbid, pull away. She licked her lips and cleared her throat before she spoke. “Y-you could come up,” she said. The darkness in the car hid her blush, but there was no hiding the shyness in her voice. Gone was the confident seductiveness in her demeanor. Now that it might get serious, she felt like she was floundering.

Stephanie was in over her head, but there was an excitement brewing within her, an anticipation, a familiar desire that she experienced with increasing frequency during her encounters with her girlfriend. Still, she was nervous. “I mean, if you want — no pressure or anything, I just thought you’d want to — I mean, my mom won’t care, so if you want, you can — ” she rushed the words out partly because she was afraid she would lose her nerve and partly because she seemed to have no control over her mouth at the moment. If she didn’t put a stop to it now, she would no doubt be babbling about being ready and first times and not wearing matching underwear but that’s OK because none of that really matters — so she clamped her mouth shut and waited for Alice’s response.

The few seconds it took for Alice to finally answer felt like long, awkward minutes to Stephanie.

When she spoke, the brunette’s voice was clear and controlled. “I do want. More than you could imagine,” she said. The hand on her girlfriend’s thigh turned up and she tangled their fingers together. She lifted their conjoined hands to her lips and placed two sound kisses to the back of Stephanie’s hand. The blonde’s nerves instantly calmed at the action and her tense shoulders relaxed. “But not tonight. As cliche as it sounds, I want it to be special because you deserve it — we deserve it — and , well, at the risk of completely ruining the surprise for tomorrow night, I should mention that I — umm — got us a room for after the dance.”

Stephanie’s eyes widened and her mouth formed a silent ‘o’ in realization. Then, suddenly, her face broke out into a wide grin that betrayed the blush blooming on her cheeks. “I’m going to go inside now and go right to sleep so tomorrow comes sooner,” she said, giddiness oozing from every word.

The brunette simply laughed when her cheeks were cupped and three quick pecks were bestowed sloppily onto her mouth. Three words were spoken between each kiss, “I. Love. You.”

“I love you, too, baby,” Alice said as she watched Stephanie wrench the door open and step out. “Good night!”

The blonde practically skipped to the door and carefully slid the key into the lock, only to find that the lock had not been engaged. She frowned. Her mother always double checked the lock on the doors before she went to bed. This could only mean that her mother was still awake and she was in for a world of trouble.

The door clicked quietly shut behind Stephanie and she tiptoed into the house. It was dark inside save for the flickering of the TV that she could see coming from the hallway leading to the den. She made her way forward, careful to not make any noise. There was still hope that she could get away with pretending she had gotten home on time.

The sound coming from the TV grew louder as she got closer. It sounded like an infomercial if the over-excited Australian accent was anything to go by. She frowned again. Her mother despised infomercials.

When Stephanie first entered the den, she couldn’t see her mother. “Mom?” she called out into the room. There was no response. Thinking that she had gone up to bed without turning off the TV, unusual though it was, Stephanie moved further into the room toward the couch to look for the remote. What she saw there, in front of the couch, illuminated by the constantly evolving light emitted by the TV, shattered her.

After eight years of fighting so hard to keep the memory of that night locked away, it took only a split second of seeing Alice’s face to make it all come rushing back. It knocked the breath out of her. She felt anger rise up alongside confusion, resentment, and, curiously, excitement. Stephanie’s mouth flapped open and closed a couple of times before words finally came out. Her voice was surprisingly clear and strong, even if she did stumble over a few words. “I-I don’t know what you’re doing here or what you want from me, but now is really not a good time. I have an important meeting in a few minutes and I really need to — ” she cut herself off when she saw Jackie coming up behind Alice with a steaming mug in her hands.

“Here is your tea, Miss Lewis.”