At the end of the art fair, she carefully packed her paintings in the back seat, cleaned up her display area, and started for home. Her plan was to trade the speed of the interstate for the marvelous autumn color of the foothills of the Smokey’s. The two-lane blacktop wound it’s way through a maze of red and yellow hardwoods punctuated by the rich green of the Georgia pines. She’d have about an hour before dusk to drink in the hues mixed on Mother Nature’s pallet, and then another hour to her front door. On the long winter nights ahead, she’d add her spirit to those colors and transfer them to oils and canvas.
Had it been just a little earlier, had the sun not dived behind the foothills so quickly, she might have seen the deer in time to stop. The flash of light brown on the side of the road, and then the glowing red eyes as the buck and two does ran in front of her car caused her to panic. She stomped the brake pedal as hard as she could and tried to steer around the lead doe. Another flash of brown at her side window was all she saw before the car bounced hard through the road ditch and then came to a stop.
When she could breathe again, she checked herself for injuries. Finding none, she put the car in reverse and started backing up to the highway. The wheels were turning, but she was making no progress. She tried going forward, then back again to rock the car out of the low spot, but it was stuck fast.
She sat there for a minute, then reached for her cell phone and pressed the buttons to call her husband. The phone’s cold response was “NO SERVICE”. She tried again and again with the same result. Throwing the phone back into her open purse, she sighed and then felt the tightening in her throat that would bring the tears of fear if she let it.
It was then she remembered the small house she’d seen only a few minutes ago. There had been a light in the window. Light meant people, and people meant a phone. She could walk back, call her husband, and wait there until he came to get her. She got the flashlight from the glove box, locked her car, and started walking back the way she’d come.
The few minutes travel by car had stretched into ten on foot, and she still didn’t see the lighted window. After another five, she thought of turning back, but the night was getting cold, the flashlight was growing dim, and spending the night in her car was not something she thought would be fun. She had walked a few more minutes when the first lightening bolt split the sky in two. The thunder that followed seemed to bring more lightening, some of it so close she could feel a tingle in the air. Then it began to rain. The first few spattering drops became a gentle shower and then a raging thunderstorm. In seconds, she was soaked to the skin.
At least the lightening helped her see the way, and at last the dim little square of yellow light greeted her from between the swaying trees. She breathed a sigh of relief just before another bolt of lightening hit a tall tree to her left. Her instinctive jump landed her in the flooded road ditch. She finally made her way out, but slipped and fell down several times in the process.
After another few miserable minutes, she walked up to the door of the small house. She stood there, shivering, and tried to smooth back her hair before she knocked on the door.
The woman who peeked through the slightly opened door was about her age, or so it seemed. She wore jeans and a man’s flannel shirt, her hair was neatly combed, and she had fuzzy house slippers on her feet. The woman didn’t say any thing at first. After a few seconds, she opened the door and said, “Honey, you come in here right now. You look like death warmed over. What happened to you?”
“I – I almost hit a d - deer and –and –and ran my car in a ditch and I couldn’t g - get it out so I s – s – s - started to walk and then it r - rained and I-“
“Hush now. Your’ teeth are chattering. You can tell me later. Let’s get you out of those wet clothes and warmed up first.” She held out her hand. “I’m Sarah. What’s your name, Honey?”
“Ci – Ci - Cindy.”
“Come right over here by the fire, Cindy. It’s a good thing I have a fireplace. Storm’s knocked out the power. That’s why you see that kerosene lamp and all the candles.”
“Can I use your phone?”
“It went out too, just as I was going to hang up on one of those damned salesmen.”
The fire seemed scalding hot after the cold rain, but Cindy leaned over and drank in the heat. While she baked her hands and face, Sarah took off Cindy’s jacket.
“I’ll have to hang your clothes up by the fire to dry them out. Let’s have your shirt and jeans next.”
“Is there somewhere I can take them off?”
“Well, you can go back outside if you want to freeze some more, but I’d stay here by the fire if I was you. Now off with ‘em, and your underwear too. It’s got to be as wet as the rest of you. I’ll go get a towel and a blanket.”
When Sarah came back, Cindy was standing naked in front of the fire. She automatically covered her breasts and mound with her hands and turned away.
Sarah laughed. “No need to be modest, Honey. It’s just you and me and Hector here, and Hector hasn’t chased a girl in years.”
“Land sakes alive, no. Hector’s my cat. Harry left me a few years ago. Hector stayed, so I figured we were meant for each other. “ Sarah frowned. “Got yourself all muddy out there too, didn’t you? You need a bath, Honey, and in the worst way. Won’t take but a few minutes to heat up some water by the fire and then you can have one. In the meantime, wrap this blanket around you. It’ll keep you warm…and keep your modesty too.” She chuckled as she went off to the kitchen.
The bathroom was enormous, and the wonderful floral scent of a dozen candles filled the air, but that wasn’t what caught Cindy’s attention. In one corner stood an old-fashioned, claw foot, cast iron bathtub. She was still staring at it when Sara came in carrying two steaming buckets.
“When they put indoor plumbing in this house, they used up a whole room, and that’s the tub they got. I kinda like it, even though it’s hard to get it warmed up. This water was boiling, so it ought to warm up real fast.”
Sarah poured the bucket of steaming water into the tub and followed it with the second.
“You get in there as soon as it cools off enough so’s you can stand it, and I’ll go heat some more.”
When the outside of the tub felt warm, Cindy tried the water with her toe. It was hot, but not too hot. She stepped into the tub and felt tingles crawling over her bare feet. It took a while for her to sit down, and when she did, the tingles raced up her legs and over her hips. Slowly, she slid down the sloping back of the tub, just fast enough for the delicious heat to penetrate her skin and keep the tingles running their race. Cindy closed her eyes and let the water pull the chill from her body. Sarah’s voice caused her eyes to fly open again.
“I brought something I thought you might like. It’s some bath salts I make – you like lavender or rose petals?”
“I don’t know…rose I guess.”
“That’s my favorite too.” Sarah sprinkled a generous amount into the water, and suddenly, the surface was covered with small, reddish-brown petals. The scent was wonderful, thought Cindy, and she could almost feel it soaking into her skin.
“Honey, your hair is a mess. What’d you do, roll in the mud?”
“I fell in the ditch and I guess I slipped a few times getting out. Could I borrow some shampoo?”
“No, but I’ll give you as much as you want. I make it just like I make these candles and the bath salts. This has lemon grass in it, and it’s better than anything you can buy. Tell you what, you sit there and warm up, and I’ll wash it for you. That OK with you?”
Sarah’s hands were gentle when she pushed Cindy down in the tub to wet her hair, and even more gentle as she began working the lather into the matted locks. Cindy was about to say that Sarah should work in a salon, when she felt Sarah’s hands rubbing the lather into the hair on the back of her neck. A chill ran down her spine followed by another sensation she’d not felt for a while, the erotic sensation of another woman’s hands on her. She thought it best to put those thoughts out of her mind.
“Sarah, you made this yourself? It smells fantastic.”
“Yes. It’s how I make my living. My granny taught me about the plants and roots, and now I make shampoo, bath salts, soap, and tea that I sell in town. I have bees too. I use the wax for my candles and I sell them and honey at the grocery store. There, I got your hair about as clean as I can. Let me give you a rinse, and then we’ll go sit by the fire. That’ll be the only place in the house that’s warm with the power out.”
Sarah came in with an armload of wood at the same time Cindy walked up to the fireplace.
“That ought to be enough to last the night. Looks like the teapot is boiling. You like peppermint tea? Good. I’ll put in a little yarrow just in case you’ve caught a cold. It’s a little bitter, but the honey will tone it down. While you were drying off, I brought this big down mattress off my bed, and some blankets. You get comfy and I’ll go make the tea.“
Sarah returned carrying two steaming cups and wearing a flannel robe.
“Here’s your tea. Hope you don’t mind, but I changed into my night things. I figured we’d be sleeping here tonight, and once I get warmed up, I don’t like getting cold again.” Sarah, chuckled. “That’s one of the things I liked when Harry was here. I never got cold at night.”
“I know I shouldn’t ask, but why did Harry leave? Another woman, maybe?”
Sarah looked a little sheepish.
“I sort of lied to you before about Harry. Harry’s full name was Harriet, but she called herself Harry. And there was another woman…Harry’s mother. She got sick, and Harry had to go back to Iowa take care of her. I still hear from her once in a while, but she’s not coming back.”
“So you and Harry were les…lovers?”
“Yes, right here in the Bible belt too. Does that shock you?”
“No. It might have when I was really young, but not anymore.”
“I didn’t think it would. You like a woman’s touch too, don’t you Cindy?”
Cindy’s mind instantly filled with a vision from some time ago – a beautiful woman with her in bed, the soft caresses, the nibbling kisses, and the fantastic orgasms. Her voice was almost a whisper when she answered.
“With the right woman, I do. How did you know?”
“When I touched the back of your neck, you caught your breath, and hot water doesn’t make a woman’s nipples stand up like yours did then. Harry was the same way.”
Sarah moved closer to Cindy and stroked Cindy’s cheek. When Cindy turned to look her in the eyes, Sarah kissed her.
As Sarah slipped the blanket from Cindy’s bare shoulders, Cindy returned the kiss, gently at first and then with the passion of a need she thought she’d never feel again. For a while, the two women made love to each other’s lips, each relishing the soft warmth of the other. Sarah’s hands caressed Cindy’s back, then slipped lower to her waist, then lower still. When she found the curve of Cindy’s hip and traced it with her fingertips, Cindy slipped her hand inside Sarah’s robe.
As a fresh downpour beat a rhythm on the roof and windows, Sarah nuzzled her way to Cindy’s ear and whispered, “let’s get under the blankets before you freeze again.”
They lay there on the down mattress, their bodies touching, hands exploring the soft peaks and softer hollows of the other. Lips parted in sudden need nibbled at lips parted in built-up passion, then softly crushed against them in a kiss that said “I am yours in any way you want me.”
Sarah’s hands found Cindy’s breasts, soft mounds with taut nipples that begged for touch, for gentle little tugs, for soft pinches, and Cindy gasped when she felt the woman doing all those things and more. It had been so long, it seemed, yet her body was instantly responding, aching with need, and longing to return the soft caresses. Her fingertips explored the curve of Sarah’s waist, then found the woman’s breasts. They hadn’t seemed so large under the man’s shirt, but she could barely fit one into the cup of her hand.
Sarah’s nipples were also large, and grew larger and longer with Cindy’s tentative touch to the tips. Cindy let her fingertip trace around one nipple and felt the tiny bumps rise to her touch. Sarah purred a tiny moan, then another as Cindy gently pinched the nipple and lifted.
Though the fires of passion burned bright in both their eyes, they did not hurry their pleasure. Each knew that each caress, each kiss only fueled that fire into a raging heat. When they finally allowed that heat to consume them, it would join them together into one body basking in the blinding light and sound of passion’s explosion.
Sarah’s fingertips created little tingling waves of pleasure as she stroked Cindy’s inner thighs. Though Cindy opened those satin thighs to her touch, Sarah did not venture to the soft lips she knew waited, wet and in need, beneath the soft dark curls. Her own body was so from Cindy’s exquisitely slow exploration of her hips and the little crease between her hips and thighs. Like Sarah, Cindy waited to feel that wet warmth on her fingertips, wanting Sarah to need that touch as much as life itself before savoring the pleasure of those soft lips, parted and waiting to be opened.
Cindy’s breathing had become only shallow panting when Sarah slipped her fingertips through the dark hair that guarded Cindy’s entrance. Slowly, ever so slowly, she teased the swollen inner lips with all their wonderful ripples, then entered the warmth lower down. Cindy gasped at the penetration, then sighed as the little waves began to build inside her body. She rocked her hips up to give the fingertips better access, and then reached for Sarah.
Her fingers traced from Sarah’s rounded belly to her mound, then down the beginning of the cleft between her thighs. Parting Sarah’s lips slightly, Cindy found the center of her sex, a small firm spot hiding beneath the small hood. She moved her finger lower into the wetness that welled from within Sarah, then went back to the firm nub. Sarah had moved to take Cindy’s nipple in her mouth, and a little moan burst around Cindy’s turgid nipple causing her to gasp. As Cindy’s fingertip gently massaged the swelling bump, Sarah sucked in Cindy’s nipple and teased the tip with her tongue.
Their fingers made soft, wet little sounds as they moved in and out of passages slippery with the wetness of lust, and caused small moans and panting gasps as they massaged the small buds swollen with need. Each knew this was only the smoke of the fire within. As lips found lips, then moved lower to tease, roll and tug on taut nipples, as fingertips slipped deeper between pouting, slippery lips, as more wet warmth flowed from their bodies, so the cries of pleasure flowed from soft lips parted in passion.
Now, there was no attempt by either woman to hide her need. Each was nearing the point of final release, and their motions were those intended to give the most pleasure to the other. Sarah’s fingertip found Cindy’s swollen clit and brushed the tip, then began to quickly and firmly trace circles around the throbbing nub. Her lips pinched Cindy’s nipples, then raised them from her soft breasts. Cindy cried out and curled her fingers deep inside Sarah’s dripping opening, then massaged the little soft pad there with her fingers and rubbed Sarah’s clit with her thumb.
In moments, both women cried out and arched into the penetrating fingers that released so much pleasure. Sarah released Cindy’s nipple, rolled her head to the side, and moaned loudly as the wave swept from her belly to her thighs and then raced back up again. Seconds later, Cindy groaned, then groaned again, and began to rock her hips rapidly into Sarah’s fingers. With a final gasp and a high-pitched cry, she arched high and stayed there as the spasm of climax took control of her every motion.
They lay there, each with her fingers still penetrating the other and slowly moving in and out, until their breathing was no long just panting gasps. Sarah finally slipped her hand from between Cindy’s wet thighs, squeezed Cindy’s breast and then kissed her. Cindy put her arms around Sarah, and held her tight.
Cindy awoke to the singing of birds and the fresh smell that always follows rain. There were other scents too, and she kept her eyes closed and drank in every one. She smelled the peppermint from the tea, the aroma of lemon grass in her hair, and the scent of their arousal that still lingered in the blankets. Only the soft hand that cupped her breast caused her to open her eyes.
Sarah was looking down at her and smiling.
“Good morning, Honey. I have some tea brewing if you’re ready. After that, I’ll make us some breakfast. Do you like pancakes with honey?”
Cindy stretched, they held out her arms to Sarah. Sarah bent down, her bare breasts settling on Cindy’s chest. Cindy kissed her, a “good morning lover” kiss, and then stoked the side of Sarah’s left breast.
“You were so wonderful”, was all she could say.
They drank their tea by the fire, still naked and cuddling like schoolgirls at a slumber party, then ate pancakes and honey at the small kitchen table. They’d just finished when Sarah’s phone rang.
“Hello…Yes, Jimmy, I’m alright…you did!…Yes, she’s here and she’s fine. Yes, I’ll have her call her husband as soon as I hang up…bye.
That was Jimmy. He’s one of the county deputies. I think he likes me, but I don’t have the heart to tell him I don’t work that way. They found your car and wanted to know if I’d seen you. Better call your husband and tell him you’re OK. Jimmy said he called the state police last night. They’ve been out looking for you.”
Cindy’s husband was relieved to hear that she was OK. She placed a second call to the local towing company, and in an hour, the truck pulled up at Sarah’s house with her car in tow. The driver said nothing was damaged. She’d just gotten stuck in the mud.
If was difficult for Cindy to thank Sarah enough. Sarah just kept saying “You’d have done the same for me, Honey.” That made it more difficult to say goodbye. Sarah had an answer for that too.
“Cindy, Honey, I’m not gonna say goodbye to you. I’ll say I’ll see you again soon, because I hope I will. You said you’re a painter, so bring your paints and I’ll show you some places that’ll take your breath away. You come up here any time you want and stay as long as you want. I’ll always have some tea to brew and food to eat. I’ll always have a bed for you too…or you can share mine again.”
After a lot of hugs and a final kiss, Cindy started her car and started the trip home. She smiled as she thought about all that had happened in such a short time. Sarah’s house was only a little over an hour from hers, and she was sure she’d make that drive often. The scent of the candles, bath oils, and shampoo in the box in the back seat reminded her that there was more here than scenery to paint, and she knew she’d come back to that scent and Sarah’s caresses as often as she could.