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Which comes carefully/ out of Nowhere

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Spring is in the air, but the evenings are still rather cold. Stella and Tanya are walking down South Bank, their shoulders hunched up in the wind, Stella’s hair blowing around her face. “I can’t wait to toss the thick coat… and to spend long summer evenings out here,” Stella murmurs, “I really have enough of this cold. It has been really been long enough…” “Yes, please…,” Tanya turns to her and giggles, “and give me drunken garden parties and sunny days out with the girls, and let’s go to the coast this summer, please?”

 

Stella stops in her tracks. They’ve never really talked about this – where this is headed, whether their current rhythm of seeing each other whenever they can, but at least once a month – and then for three whole days if not four – will persist beyond these seven months, what this actually might mean in the long run. Stella looks at Tanya almost shyly; she has tried her best to shield her heart from getting involved in anything, but she knows – she knows from the way it is fluttering in her chest now, but also from her constant desire to hold Tanya close, to cuddle up to her at night, to run her hands over hers; in public, in a wine bar, not fifteen minutes ago – that it’s long become a lost effort, that she’s taken, whether official or not.

 

She smiles at Tanya hesitantly, “You really want to do that? Travel to the coast?” Tanya nods and smiles. “Awwwww, of course…” Now it is her turn to raise her eyebrows at Stella’s careful tone. “Unless… unless you do not want to go?” She eyes Stella curiously, wondering whether that was… a wrong thing to say? Demanding too much? Too soon? All three? In her mind, she’s already basking in the sun, with Stella next to her, taking long walks along the beach, her girls playing in the sand, but… “No, no – I want to go,” Stella assures her and takes her hand, “I want to go… It’s… I just cannot believe you are saying this, thinking about this…” Tanya pulls Stella close and gently kisses her cheek. “Believe me,” she whispers into her ear, “I am thinking about this, and more specifically, I am imagining you… in my arms… every night, all summer long…” Stella exhales, feeling her eyes tear up. “Shhhh, darling, no tears… let’s go home and I’ll tell you another thing I’m imagining…”

 

Two hours later, they are in Stella’s bed, wrapped in satin sheets and in each other. “I’m sorry I got so… weird when you mentioned the summer,” Stella whispers, running her hands up and down Tanya’s arms. “I am thinking about this, too… I am thinking all the time - about being with you… and holding you… and… I am just afraid that…” “Don’t be afraid – please.” Tanya leans over to her and kisses her, softly, then more insistently, her hands exploring Stella’s upper body tenderly. “Mmmmmh,” Stella hums, “go on…” Just be here with me, Stella, ok?” Stella looks up at her, her eyes threatening to tear up again. “Just feel…” Tanya kisses her again, very softly, then takes a deep breath, and Stella can feel her body tense. “There’s another thing I’ve been imagining,” Tanya adds quietly, while her hands are caressing Stella’s sides, never seeming to reach where Stella wants it the most. “What is that?”, Stella breathes. Tanya moves to whisper to her again. “Next weekend my brother’s hosting a brunch for Sarah, his wife… and…”, she begins. Stella looks at her. “And I want you to come with me… as my girlfriend… will you please?” Tanya blurts out those last words, then exhales; letting go of a breath she must have been holding all evening, if not longer.

 

And then Stella’s hands are on Tanya’s hips, pulling her towards herself, on top of her, seemingly touching her everywhere at once. “You sure?” Stella inquires, shifting and pulling her top out of the way. “Believe me, I am very very sure…” “Well then…ok,” Stella says with a determined voice, looking into her eyes and pulling her closer, “and now,” she adds, “kiss me… girlfriend.”