Twenty-four hours had passed since the two women has last seen each other. During that time Elly had been nervously avoiding her fiancé. She wasn’t ready to speak to him yet. Every time she so much as thought of Mark, it felt like she was going to burst out of control. She loved him, maybe not loved…but he made her mind crazy with infatuation. He was the love she wanted, perhaps not the love she needed. Elly’s mind went mad when she was around him. She’d heard people say that kind of feeling wasn’t truly love, it was obsession, but how was she supposed to know when it felt so real and intense? She’d fought for him for so long and to give up on him over a couple of silly arguments would be insanity. But right now she needed her space, she didn’t want him to see her tears. He didn’t deserve to see her tears.
Chloe had been having a happier day. She’d finally managed to have her date with Katherine and had spent every moment staring into the British girl’s dark, brown eyes. And laughing. There had been a lot of laughing, but most of that was just Chloe being her awkward-self. There was nothing to say that their personalities meshed well yet, but Chloe was blown away by how perfect the other woman looked every single day. Perhaps she was a distraction; a rebound from Elly, but she was one Chloe was beginning to see a future with. Elly aside, she couldn’t remember the last time she’d felt this attracted to anybody.
The evening was almost upon them. The sun was just starting to go down and everybody around them was starting to go out for a drink or two. That was why Chloe had arranged her date earlier. She wanted it to be peaceful before all the drunk people turned up and were so loud she wouldn’t be able to hear Katherine’s gorgeous accent.
Elly was walking by when she saw Chloe saying goodbye to her date. She waited by a hedge, not wanting to turn up and get in the way. Her eyes stared intently at the two women, trying to make out what they were saying but she waited until Katherine had strolled happily away before she rushed to greet her best friend.
“Hey! Chlo,” she shouted over, speeding up in her heels to get to her. “How was your date?” Elly questioned with a large, sparkling smile. The same smile she wore on her face every time she saw Chloe.
“Elly!” Chloe beamed. “Yeah, it was good. Really good actually.”
“Well would you like to grab a hot chocolate and go for a walk? You can tell me all about it. Oh, and my treat for making you miss your date yesterday.”
“Yeah. Why not!”
With smiles on both faces, the two women grabbed a hot chocolate and headed up to the top of a hill where they settled down on a bench. Spending time outside with Chloe was one of Elly’s favourite things to do. The two friends never ever ran out of things to talk about. Pink and orange hues covered the sky more and more by the minute. It was Chloe’s favourite time of the day, she loved colour. Seeing the shades mix around in the sky, constantly changing colour. She wished she could stay in the moment forever. Her eyes gazed at the colours like a child with their presents at Christmas. Eventually she snapped out of it and averted her attention to the woman beside her.
“So I told Katherine I have Huntington’s and she was totally fine with it,” Chloe said with a radiating smile, tilting her head to look at Elly.
“And you’re surprised by that? Chloe, she wouldn’t be the right person for you if she wasn’t fine about it.”
“I know that. You just never know how people are going to react, you know? When I tell them I can’t have children… It’s really difficult.” Her flashing smile faded at the thought of it. After the words her ex girlfriend, Mel had recently spat at her over it she’d almost lost the confidence to tell anybody else. But again, as always, Elly had helped her see the light. Every time Chloe was in tears there was one person there and that person was always Elly. She couldn’t thank her enough. She didn’t know how to thank her enough.
“How do you feel about never being able to have children? It must be awful knowing…” Elly questioned with remembered grief of her miscarriage. It was something she’d wondered for a long time, but it had to be asked at the right time. This was her chance. Besides, deep conversations with Chloe were easier than they were with most. It was natural.
“I don’t know. I mean, I didn’t think I would be the kind of person to have them anyway but now I know I can’t have them it’s like I really, really want them. One of those you don’t want it until it’s gone kinda things.” Chloe laughed through the pain she could feel in her chest. She always did that, it was easier.
“Yeah, I can understand that feeling,” Elly nodded sympathetically, smiling faintly. She hoped Chloe wouldn’t catch on to what she meant. Sometimes Elly would say things she felt and then realise she didn’t know how or why she felt them. It was too soon for anybody else to know how she felt when she couldn’t even understand her own mind or feelings. “I think you’re being really brave about it all. I know I’d have gone off the rails by now.” Chloe shrugged and grabbed hold of Elly’s arm, almost hugging it as she stared at the orange sky.
“Well I’ve had you to help me through it.”
“And your brothers.”
“Yeah but…they kinda had to be there. You didn’t. But you stayed by my side anyway and I really appreciate that.” Chloe moved her eyes off of the pastel sky and allowed them to wander back to meet Elly’s. She hadn’t expected the other woman to be staring back with such a glimmer in expressions. The eye contact certainly hadn’t been planned but as their mouths fell silent, their eyes were full of life. They lingered far too long which caused Elly to eventually let out a nervous laugh, swishing her hair to the side.
“It’s a gorgeous evening. I’m really glad I get to spend it with you,” she mentioned, changing the subject.
“Yeah. I feel the same,” Chloe giggled, forgetting all about Katherine until Elly brought the British woman up again.
“Do you uh… think you and Katherine will last? Will you be the next the next big couple around here?” she laughed. Inside of her mind she was asking herself why she’d gone back to the topic of Chloe’s beautiful, new date. Silly decision.
“I don’t know, it’s early days. I never saw myself ever wanting to settle down with anyone other than you. But with her…yeah, I think I could see it.” Elly knew Chloe had never been the kind of woman to stick with one person for too long so hearing that come out of her mouth made her wince a little. Chloe noticed the darker haired woman’s reaction and narrowed her eyes. “Elly? Is everything okay?”
“Yeah. Yeah, no, I’m happy for you.”
“Uh…are you sure? Your facial expression kinda said otherwise.”
“No. No, I’m sure. Just all of this stuff with Mark is making romance a little bit difficult right now,” Elly lied. And it was obvious, her voice had grown higher with every word. Chloe laughed it off. She didn’t understand what was going on in Elly’s head and it was better not to question it. Their friendship was too important and Elly had made it pretty clear that she wasn’t attracted to women.
“You and Mark will be fine! You always are. You’re solid.”
“Yeah, you’re right,” breathed out Elly. When she breathed she could feel a giddy feeling in her stomach, one she couldn’t explain. She tried to take deep breaths to ease it away. But then her mind joined in too, her eyes drifting to Chloe’s at every opportunity. It was making her feel mad, making her eyes abate to watery ones. “Look, I’m going to head off. I have an interview at the school in the morning so I should probably get to bed.” Elly got up off the bench suddenly and tried to keep her eyes averted away from Chloe’s.
“Okay well, we should do this again. I had a really good time.” Pulling her eyes away from Elly, Chloe launched herself at the woman, pulling her into a warm embrace. Elly awkwardly wrapped her arm around Chloe in return. The older woman was so confused. Why was the thought of Chloe dating somebody else making her tremble with jealousy? She wasn’t into women, she wasn’t into Chloe. She loved Mark and only Mark.
“Of course. I’ll give you a text,” Elly responded, removing herself from the tight hug. Her eyes went past Chloe and she attempted to turn her expressions deadpan. Then she started wandering off down the footpath, in the opposite direction.
“See ya,” Chloe waved her off, frowning with her own confusion over how their time together had come to such a sudden end.