Black coffee was all Marni drank these days. Saturday mornings usually began slowly, groggily, in her pajamas, but she was almost ready to get on the road to Caloundra.
Because Ri would be there, the drive ahead felt less arduous. She’d still rushed to get out the door – quick shower, hair bundled up, lashings of perfume – getting ready at the last minute still a habit she held onto. Adrienne was so relaxed, and it rubbed off on her in a way she wasn’t familiar with. It was easy with her, simple. She felt safe.
Not the way she’d been with Leo, unsure if he was coming or going, fighting for time in his jam-packed weekends.
But still, this was all so new to her. She’d held such an idea of divide in her head between women and men, this idea that she could only be attracted to one. Even though she knew it was bullshit.
When she’d introduced herself at Emma’s place that night – “Adrienne”, in her effortlessly chic blue skinny jeans – something new had sparked in Marni, a sudden and bold intrigue. She could tell there was a mutual awareness of this tension, and had wanted to let go of the idea of this divide immediately.
“It’s good to see you again pretty lady,” she said, pulling her close.
It was funny she wore the same perfume as Leo. But when she smelled it on Ri it was so much sexier.
Pulling back, she held her shoulders and looked into Marni’s eyes a moment, cracking that tilted grin. She was in a white singlet and loose linen pants, her sandy hair flipped back, curled behind her right ear, her nose ring a bright silver-white against her tan. She seemed so comfortable in her own skin. A trait that made Marni’s heart race – partly out of a desire to know what that felt like and partly because it was so attractive.
Adrienne went to put her togs on. It had been a week since they’d seen each other, and maybe four weeks since they’d been “hanging out” like this, Marni thought. She huddled around Marni’s surf-shack-of-an-apartment kitchen table – one of the old round, wooden ones like her grandma had from the 70’s, the edges smooth from years of tea and the occasional lamington in the afternoon light.
Ri had good taste. This time, it was much messier than the last few times she’d visited – a cluster of canvases rested on one wall, a surfboard took over the lounge area, where multiple glasses, a few with liquid at the bottom, sat on the tiny coffee table.
It looked like she’d had company last night and Marni wondered what kind. Were they exclusive?
They’d only kissed, she thought, shutting herself down but surprised at the pang of desperation she felt.
She had the sudden urge to go into Ri’s room right now and close the door, forget the beach. Then, stunted at the thought of how that would go, she cleared some glasses instead.
They went to a rougher, foamier part of the sea than she was hoping for. The ocean wasn’t really her place. Unless it was a flat, calm inlet, she generally felt like she got pushed around by waves, and sometimes she’d panic if she couldn’t feel the bottom, convincing herself of dark shapes beneath her feet.
Learning to surf was flirty and fun. Ri’s arms were much more toned than hers, but she liked feeling petite next to her, if only a little.
She put some effort in to trying to catch a wave at first, and made it to her knees shakily. It did feel good, that moment, but she lost interest quickly.
She didn’t want Ri to see that though. Eager to be as confident as her, but equally wanting to flounder a little, she handed the board back. “I’ll go and read for a bit,” she laughed.
Self-consciousness kicked in, she was instantly nervous. She didn’t want to seem ‘boring’ or ‘weak’ – more bullshit, but she let her mind get the better of her. Truthfully though, she was more comfortable watching Ri catch waves.
The day ran long, the air sunburnt and enveloping. A bubble she wouldn’t burst until the very last moment.
That moment came after two whiskeys – which she never drank – and a vegetarian dinner Adrienne expertly pulled together.
In that moment, she realised how much she wanted this. She wanted to be here more – sunset conversations, her home cooked meals, her shabby, incense-soaked abode.
She tasted of the whiskey, her lips undoubtedly softer than anyone’s she’d ever kissed. It was electric and sensual and she didn’t want their lips to part, but when they did, it was only to connect with other parts of her body.
Hadn’t she been here hundreds of times before, she’d thought in a flash, as Ri rolled up her cami.
But it hadn’t felt like this before.
She made her mind up. Adrienne’s were the only hands she wanted holding hers, squeezing her; her’s the only lips she wanted kissing her neck, trailing her stomach.
She left unwillingly, with the dizzied mind of a teenager who has just uncovered a secret part of themselves.
The drive home rushed by, feeling faster, as it always does.
Everything was different now.