Originally published February 2015 as Smokey Saga #46
Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014, 10:02 p.m.
It was a dark and stormy night.
No, seriously. It really was.
The 77° temperature mingled with the dense rain and unforgiving winds, giving way to thunder and lightning, shaping a tropical atmosphere extending to the outskirts of town. Fully bloomed trees shook, rustled and shed leaves months ahead of schedule. Rumbling black clouds hogged the celestial spotlight from the quarter moon and dull starlight. Wet gusts buffeted pedestrians on foot, and challenged visibility of drivers en route to their destinations. So-called “windproof” umbrellas were nearly whipped right out of their owners’ hands, while struggling to keep their stretchers down. And the soaking precipitation gave promise to a bright, shiny rejuvenation of nature the following morning.
Braver individuals who did not allow the weather to interfere with their plans stepped out to dinner, the movie theater, the 24-hour convenience store, and other late-night venues of activity. Homebound folks curled up with good books, good meals, good remotes, good friends, and/or good lovers, settling in to enjoy the soothing sounds of meteorological tumult.
The utterly enormous Bayside Inn on 38th Street and Fisherman’s Avenue—just beside the aptly named Fisherman’s Bay (which also happened to be the name of the entire surrounding resort)—was busy as ever during this, the middle of summer. The normal rush of business travelers was enhanced by the wave of vacationing visitors, who could ill afford long-distance trips, or simply preferred to stay in town. The gigantic Inn and accompanying Fisherman’s Bay were bordered by a thirty-block boardwalk with the standard array of arcades, casinos, retail outlets, restaurants, dessert/snack stands, tattoo/piercing parlors, and souvenir/gift shops, most of which performed decent business even with the disadvantage of thunderstorms.
The thirty blocks spanned by the boardwalk were dotted on the other side of the hotels by amusement parks, country clubs, bars, more restaurants, shopping centers, and just about everything else the R & R-hungry voyager could hope to find, for a width of roughly twenty miles. Aforementioned boardwalk fun notwithstanding, Fisherman’s Bay’s nightlife was compromised this evening by the unpleasant weather. But which failed to hinder indoor recreation.
One hearty thrillseeker who’d adjourned to the Bayside for her yearly retreat was Zoe Trix Palmer, a 30-year-old beautician having settled into her week-long vacation here in Midwestern paradise. She always took her vacations just in the middle of summer, and kept them to a modest week. She loved her job, and while nothing compared to getting away from it all, Zoe was normally eager by week’s end to get right back to it all. And to unsheathe her arsenal of arms to fight unsightliness: her blow dryer, combs and brushes, shampoo and conditioner, sprays and gels, clippers and files, and lest she forget, her workmates. The loyal gang of bandits and accomplices.
She and her girls came up with these terms, in relation to their shared career. It was not as if Zoe and her cohorts did any sort of underworld business. They simply enjoyed the whimsy of bandying about such language to play up a bit of excitement in the beauty shop biz. As if to lend an air of “danger” to a light, fluffy, literally beautiful profession. All in the name of fun and humor, of course. Speaking of humor, a few years back, someone gave her a sign to display in her shop that said, “I’M A BEAUTICIAN, NOT A MAGICIAN.” Zoe believed in its facetious truth, although she was skilled at doing quite amazing, almost even magical things with a tricky capillary situation.
When summer arrived annually, and she faced the thorough but exciting process of organizing a vacation, she was met with a host of decisions. Depending on her budget, she might go out of state, or out of all the States, maybe even off the continent…or just stay home. She might travel with friends, family, or on her own—solo being the chosen option this year. Then there were the multi-act plays of where to stay, how long, mapping out of activities, and contacting her selected hotel for reservations. And so here she was this year at the Bayside, reserved for one week in room 741, and currently out and about having a ball.
It seemed an ideal short epoch in which things couldn’t go wrong.
Zoe was an optimist. She’d attended school, graduated and moved on to cosmetology college, from which it was a hop, skip and a jump to her future career. And she’d done it all with a sunny attitude and hard, diligent work. When things went wrong, Zoe tried to let herself be plagued as little as possible. She’d resigned herself to the rollercoaster ride that was life, and carried on, always knowing her next good fortune could be right around the corner.
Zoe Palmer was sort of the girl next door, but a couple more houses down. But not all the way down the creepy end of the street, either. She had a free-spirited quirkiness that would give off a hint of eccentricity to some, but at the same time, she couldn’t be accused of being a daffy, kooky young crone. She knew when to be flighty, and when to take things seriously. She’d no significant others or better halves in her life just now, but it was all part of the enjoyment and exhilaration to her, that the very love of her life could pop up at any point, and float right into her arms and heart. Anytime, anywhere: at home, at work, at play.
Which brought her to her yearly vacation, during which, whatever the circumstances, she was determined to have a wonderful time. And so she had been. As nice as having a companion was, the upside to vacationing by herself was the privilege of being able to do whatever she so pleased, without obstructing or interfering with a travel mate’s plans. It was after all what a vacation should be, she reasoned, so why question things? Be a wild girl! she encouraged herself. Tell caution to stuff it!
Tonight she’d planned on going for a dip, a quest not squelched by the rocky weather. The hotel had a large in-floor indoor swimming pool, surrounded by a couple dozen plastic chairs, and joined by a steam room, shower, and hot tub. Zoe enjoyed the snug safety of indoor warmth contrasting storms on the exterior. And it was only Tuesday; she knew it’d pass long before she returned home. Monday she had checked in, rested briefly in the room, enjoyed a seafood lunch, traversed the boardwalk, had an Italian Ice and a funnel cake, worked them off with several rousing rounds of skee-ball, played a course of miniature golf, treated herself to a lovely heaping buffet dinner, adjourned back to the hotel room and let supper put her to sleep.
So far today, she’d taken a long, hot shower, tried the hotel’s continental breakfast—actually better than she was expecting—gone shopping, dropped by the ice cream parlor for a cone, trolleyed over to the amusement park to ride some rides (which she found would’ve been a better idea before the ice cream), played some midway games, had some cotton candy…and then it began to rain, so she swung back to the Inn.
Once more, she wasn’t put off in the least by the storm. The conditions may not have been ideal for a single day at the resort, but she still had four more to go. And in the meantime, there were plenty of things she could do inside the hotel. She could work out in the gym, she could play the pinball tables and shoot pool in the game room, she could pig out courtesy of the vending machines, she could hang in the lobby and read a book or meet people, she could check out the gift shop…orrrr, she could do just as she was planning for the remainder of the night: take a few refreshing laps in the indoor pool, return to her room, order up some room service, put the TV on sleep mode, slip under the covers, and drop off in serene tranquility.
Her timing was a bit late, but she had about fifteen minutes to do her laps in the pool before it closed for the night. She was the last remaining guest swimming this evening. It was nice having the pool to herself. The water was three feet deep at the edges, with steps and railings for easy exit. In the middle it reached nine feet at deepest. The lifeguard was still on duty, but needed a quick bathroom break around 9:57. She’d have this last young woman vacate the pool when she got back.
Five minutes later, she returned to see the girl still circling the perimeter counterclockwise. She tweeted her whistle.
“Excuse me, ma’am,” she called to Zoe, who was completing her sixth lap. “The pool’s closed. I’ll have to ask you to come out now.”
“Oh! Okay,” Zoe acquiesced, doggy-paddling to the set of steps she was nearest. The lifeguard, whose name was Lizzy-Beth—Elizabeth at birth, clipped and hyphenated at her own discretion—gave a smile and a nod, and turned to go grab her towel. Zoe took hold of the railing and hefted herself out. About to fetch her own towel, she felt a distinct need, and decided she ought to take care of something else first.
“Miss?” she called to the lifeguard. “May I please use the restroom?”
Lizzy-Beth figured this must be an urgent call of nature if the young lady couldn’t wait to return to her own room, so she obliged.
“Oh, thanks!” Zoe did have to go pretty bad, and didn’t want to use the ’ool. And so only able to focus on her nagging bladder, she gaited into a run for the ladies’.
Unfortunately…one thing stood in her way.
In her rush to relief herself, Zoe failed to notice a patch of water splashed across the tiles while she was swimming.
And still in her also very wet, very small, size 6 bare feet…she slipped.
She lost her balance. She’d nary a moment to notice, panic and flail her arms to catch herself before she was falling.
“Whoa!” she shouted reflexively, rediverting Lizzy-Beth’s attention. The lifeguard looked up to see it happen, almost as if in slow motion. The tumble threw Zoe back towards the edge as she tumbled off-kilter.
Then the worst-case scenario came true, in living color, before her widening eyes…
…As Zoe came down…and sharply, cringingly banged the back of her head…against the lip of the pool.
“OH!” she cried as the wind was knocked from her, tilting her off equilibrium and letting gravity take over. Abruptly unconscious, centrifugal force tossed her back over into the pool. Her oxygen came out in effervescent, surface-rushing bubbles, and she sank to the deep end, through nine sloping feet of water like the densest of stones.
Lizzy-Beth gasped. “Oh my God!” she yelled. She dropped her towel, whipped off her whistle, let it fly, scampered to the edge, careful not to slip herself, and dove in.
Kicking like mad, Lizzy-Beth fought her way to the bottom, chasing after the girl’s k.o.’d body. Metering out her own breath, she finally reached her, slipping her arms under and around Zoe’s. She held the breath she had left, summoned her strength, and pulled the both of them back up.
It ate up all the upper body power she had left after a long day, but Lizzy-Beth managed to get Zoe to the steps, bit by bit, and out of the pool. Laying the girl on her back, she knelt beside, opened her airway and initiated CPR.
It took a number of nose-pinched breaths and chest pumps Lizzy-Beth was too panicked to count, but her persistence paid off. To her relief, Zoe gave a lurch, gurgled and coughed up a mouthful of swallowed poolwater.
Whew, thought Lizzy-Beth. “Oh, thank God,” she mouthed. Still only half-conscious, Zoe’s eyes fluttered and her head lolled until she passed back out. She’d been knocked cold, but she was breathing.
But Lizzy-Beth’s job wasn’t done. A case like this wasn’t limited to yanking a drowning swimmer out of the drink. She didn’t want to start this way, but wasn’t sure she had a lot of choice. So she took Zoe’s towel, draped it over her body from the chin down like a blanket, swaddled herself in her own, shut the lights off, scurried to her room and attacked the closet, which was supplied with some white robes. Snatching one for herself and one for the girl, she made her way back as rapidly as she could, flipped the lights back on and knelt down with her again.
It took some maneuvering, but she got the young woman dressed in the spare robe. She looked up to see the girl appeared to have only brought her flip-flops and room key. Lizzy-Beth grabbed them and put the girl’s flip-flops on her feet. Now came the more difficult part.
She put the girl’s arm around her own shoulder and eased her out towards the lobby.
“This guest had an accident,” she told the receptionists. “I’m taking her to the hospital. Can someone please help me get her out to my car?”
One of them took Zoe’s other arm and lent Lizzy-Beth the requested hand. Once Zoe was safely belted into the passenger seat, Lizzy-Beth drove the five miles up the main highway until she hit their destination.
Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014, 11:37 p.m.
The drive wasn’t very smooth in the still pouring rain, and Lizzy-Beth could just as easily have called an ambulance, but the whole idea zipped by her cognizant mind. On top of which, she couldn’t help but feel a little responsible, even though she knew it was not hers, but physics’ fault. Although, she thought, if she’d told the girl she couldn’t use the bathroom, she might’ve just scooted off to her room instead and avoided this whole…
Stop it, she ordered. Don’t do that. This is no time to start persecuting yourself. Just get the girl to the hospital.
Fortunately for Zoe, Lizzy-Beth possessed both life-saving skills and the anticipation that she’d have to have a little preparation at the ready when they arrived. Zoe hadn’t completely woken up, so when Lizzy-Beth eased her out of the car, walked her in and up to the front desk, she was nervous, but the girl’s health was at stake. She didn’t like to lie, but sometimes she had to. And she had to do it convincingly. If she was going to fabricate her way through this, she had to answer questions in a timely fashion, but not patently blurt out responses right away. Opacity and confidence were key.
“Can we help you, ma’am?”
“Yes, she bonked her head. We need someone to see her ay-sap.”
Lizzy-Beth gave the young lady the most common female name she could think of and used her own surname.
“Eh—Jen. Jennifer. Jennifer Williams.”
“The patient’s name, please, ma’am?”
“That-that is her name,” stammered the lifeguard, trying to cloak the fib in coolness of voice. “Mine’s Lizzy-Beth.”
“We’ll get someone right out for her.”
“Can I go back with her?”
“Are you a relative?”
“Uh, yes! Yes,” said Lizzy-Beth, trying to maintain support to keep Zoe crutched up while going into her purse. She dug up her license and insurance card. “I’m her cousin. We’re cousins. See? Er—here you go. Lizzy-Beth Kessie Williams, that’s me.”
Oh, nice going, L.B., she castigated herself. That wasn’t obvious or conspicuous at all. She got a bit queasy in the tummy. Her system went sour when she consciously fibbed. Luckily, her last name really was Williams.
“Okay,” agreed the satisfied receptionist. “We’ll take you both back in just a minute. In the meantime, you can start filling this out.”
She presented Lizzy-Beth with a medical form and a pen. Oh dear. This would require a little more bluffing. Well, she’d mark down their address as the Bayside Inn right now, fake her way through the rest, and deal with it at a moment out of crisis.
It worked. One hour and five stitches later, Zoe blinked herself to dizzy consciousness. The doctor had fixed her up and given them a few minutes alone. Lizzy-Beth of course stuck to her story about being cousins for consistency. Now that the girl was up, she supposed she was going to have to either come clean with the staff, or convince the girl to be Jennifer Williams until they left.
“W—…w-wh—…where am I?” Zoe weakly croaked out.
“You’re in the hospital,” Lizzy-Beth told her. “You hurt yourself at the hotel pool, and I brought you here.”
“Yeah. You fell and clocked yourself out. I CPR’d you.”
Zoe blinked about a dozen times, furrowing her brows. She appeared to be confused, unaware what Lizzy-Beth was talking about.
“Are you okay?” Lizzy-Beth asked her.
“I, uh…I dunno.”
Zoe tried to think back and grab something out of her recent memory. To her surprise, when she mentally went into the memory room and flipped on the light, there was…nothing there.
The bang taken by her noggin had jarred a lot loose. Some files of her personal life lay here and there, but they might as well have been translated into a foreign language with blurry, smeared ink. Aside from these, it was as if the safe had been broken into, robbed and cleaned out in one fell swoop. She was indisputably amnesic.
She did, however, still feel the woman beside her place a hand on her shoulder and speak again.
“Is there anything I can get you?” Lizzy-Beth asked her. “Or do for you?”
“I…I…” Zoe shook her head. “I have no…idea. I…” She turned to Lizzy-Beth in disturbed bewilderment. “Lady, I don’t think I…
“…I don’t remember who I am.”
Lizzy-Beth’s eyes widened and her brows arched.
“And I definitely don’t remember who you are.”
Since the doctor had left them alone in the room, Lizzy-Beth poked her head out the door to make sure they were in private. They were safe, but Lizzy-Beth still lowered her voice as she returned to Zoe to tell her the truth.
“Well, that part makes sense,” she replied. “We haven’t been introduced. My name’s Lizzy-Beth.”
She offered her hand, but the bemused Zoe only stared at it.
“You mean I never met you?”
“Well…not before tonight, no…uh…I don’t know your name,” she admitted.
“Oh, great,” Zoe grumbled. “So that makes two of us.
“But…wait,” she said, turning back to her. “So…you never met me, but you pulled me out of a pool and took me to a hospital?”
Lizzy-Beth shrugged. “Well, I’m…I’m not some strange person who just goes around rescuing people; I’m the lifeguard at the Bayside Inn. It was my job.”
“Bayside Inn?” Zoe parroted. “Wh—…where exactly am I?”
“Fisherman’s Medical,” Lizzy-Beth went on explaining. “We’re in the Fisherman’s Bay resort. We were at the Bayside Inn a couple hours ago, at the pool. You were swimming, I told you it was time to leave, and you asked me if you could go to the bathroom. And that’s when you slipped, fell and bopped your head and rolled back in.”
Not all of these details seemed direly important, but one of them concerned Zoe, who was still trying to put things together.
“I hit my head?” Zoe fingered her scalp, feeling for the injury.
“Well, yes, but see, that’s why I brought y—”
Zoe’s eyes popped open as she felt the stitched wound. Unaware what they were, she panicked. She gasped and shouted out loud before Lizzy-Beth could finish.
Lizzy-Beth gently took her arm. “No, no! It’s okay!” she insisted. “It’s okay. They already took care of the stitches. They said you could go home now if you really needed to, but they also said you could stay here overnight if you wanted.”
Zoe’s heart was pounding, but she understood what Lizzy-Beth said.
“Well, that’s good, since I don’t even know my own name, and I have no idea where I live.”
“Well, you’re obviously staying at the Bayside Inn; you’re not allowed in its pool if you’re not a guest,” said Lizzy-Beth, trying to help.
“You mean…what, I’m…I’m on vacation?...But, then where do I really live?”
She sounded understandably distraught. Lizzy-Beth began to see just how grave the situation potentially was. All this girl had taken to the pool was a towel…and presumably, her room key. She didn’t have a purse or wallet with her, so they couldn’t consult them for identification. Lizzy-Beth had her own room key, and was pretty sure they’d held on to this girl’s as well, but she didn’t know if the staff could recognize the girl on sight, or find her room number just by the key. Maybe they could scan it or something. But if not…then what? The Bayside Inn had over a thousand rooms, some closed off from general access. If even possible, it would take forever to try the key in every single one. Swell. Now what do we do?
Lizzy-Beth didn’t have it in her to just leave this girl alone knowing she’d lost her memory. She didn’t know what she’d do or where she’d go now. And…well, the bed in her room at the Inn was big enough to sleep two, but…
She guessed she could let her stay here overnight, as advised, but she had to go back on duty the following morning. She wouldn’t be able to come back and pick her up, and the girl couldn’t be left to fend for herself with total amnesia.
She thanked the staff, and took Zoe/Jennifer back out to her car.
Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014, 12:24 a.m.
Lizzy-Beth wasn’t sure about this, but again, didn’t see what choice she had. She’d explained to Zoe the dilemma of trying the hotel room key in every single room, and the recep staff couldn’t be of optimum assistance. Unfortunately for the lasses, even though Lizzy-Beth had told them on the way out the girl’d had an accident, their policies did not include scanning cards unless the occupant could provide identification, or at least give them a name. Once more, anything that could have sufficed was locked in the now elusive room. This was an especially frustrating circumstance under which Lizzy-Beth wished the rules could be bent just a little. Even after she yet again explained this was the girl they’d helped bring out to her car—and that she’d lost her memory—would she get no further in this endeavor. Unbelievable, she thought incredulously.
“Well, what am I supposed to do then? The poor girl has no idea who she is, or what’s going on!” Lizzy-Beth reiterated. “We don’t even know her name!”
“We’re sorry, Miss Williams. We simply can’t scan for the number without identification.”
This put Lizzy-Beth between a rock and hard place. It was after midnight, and she had to do something. She wasn’t sure how she felt about having her unknown acquaintance sleep with her in her room—let alone her own bed—but she couldn’t just abandon this confused waif after saving her life, and had virtually zero other options. She led the girl to her own room and took her in.
Lizzy-Beth, what makes you think this is a good idea? the more cautious part of her mind wanted to know.
I didn’t say I thought it was a “good idea,” the other part of her explained. It’s not even noble or altruistic. The girl has no idea who she is and nowhere else to go. It’s the right thing to do. We’d be a terrible person if we just shut her out. And, even on the ridiculously small chance she’d try to make off with something, where’s she gonna go?
That’s funny, I don’t recall asking our hormones for an opinion.
Zoe—now under the assumption of “Jennifer”—wasn’t exactly thrilled about the arrangement either, but agreed their proverbial hands were basically tied here. Frankly, she was scared. She felt helpless. She wanted to cry, and Lizzy-Beth couldn’t blame her. For heaven’s sake, neither of them had the slightest idea who the girl really was.
Lizzy-Beth told her in a gentle tone of voice that she knew what a terrible pickle the girl had found herself in. She was calling her Jennifer just for purposes of having something to address her by. She also said since there really wasn’t anything they could do about this, especially at this time of night, they might as well try to settle in, get comfy and just…hang out.
“In fact, I was thinking, and, uh…well, I’ve been trying to put myself in your place about this. I can only imagine how scared you must be. But I want you to know you can trust me. Especially since there’s really no place for us to sleep in here other than the, eh…
“…Anyway…I was also thinking, I’m gonna ask one of the other lifeguards to take my shift for tomorrow. It occurred to me that if I worked, you’d either have to spend the whole day in here, or outside somewhere. And I think the time could be put to much better use trying to jog your memory somehow.”
Zoe/Jennifer still didn’t say much. She understood that this lady was trying to be hospitable and friendly, and she was certainly appreciative. Yet she felt still uncomfy, basically at Lizzy-Beth’s mercy. Lizzy-Beth could read it in her face.
“In the meantime,” said Lizzy-Beth, “We can do whatever you want till it’s time for bed…” She counted on her fingers, keeping an amiable smile on her face. “…We could watch some TV, we could play cards, we could read…
“…Or, y’know, we could just sit and shoot the breeze for a while.”
Zoe/Jen nodded, considering the selections. Finally, she answered—
“I think…TV sounds good. And who knows, maybe…maybe something I see’ll…remind me of something.”
“Good idea!” said Lizzy-Beth. “Okeydoke, here’s the remote; I’ll watch anything you wanna watch. Can I get you something to eat?”
Zoe thought herself quite fortunate to have fallen under this lady’s care. She seemed like she really wanted to help. And she was hungry. She accepted the supper offer.
Ten minutes later, Lizzy-Beth and Zoe/Jennifer sat at either foot of the bed, watching an unfamiliar but humorous program and munching on leftover microwave pizza. It may not have been the perfect meal to enjoy just before bed, but Lizzy-Beth hadn’t been grocery shopping for a bit, and wasn’t certain how much sleep would be gotten tonight anyway.
She received a treat as something funny happened on the screen. Zoe/Jennifer, who was beginning to loosen up a bit, giggled. It was the first time Lizzy-Beth got to see her smile. It became a nice little moment. She laughed along.
Shortly after the repast was consumed, Zoe/Jen decided she had abruptly turned very tired. She yawned, stretched, lowered herself horizontally onto the mattress and pulled the comforter over herself. Lizzy-Beth turned the TV off, a bit surprised her new roommate could fall asleep so easily and quickly. Then again, she’d had quite an eventful night, she was likely wiped. Lizzy-Beth clicked off the lamp and laid down.
Zoe/Jen was facing inside the bed, which Lizzy-Beth found preferable, as she would rather study her new friend’s cute, pretty face than her stitches. At the same time, it was clear she could do no more than admire the lass’ comely kisser. If she were a cruel or wicked person, she could take advantage of the poor amnesic and defenseless Jennifer, have her way with her and be done with it. But she was good-hearted. She couldn’t do any of these things and live with herself afterwards. And she liked this girl. She had saved her life, now she wanted to help her further to get her memory—and consequently her hotel room and possessions—back.
Moonlight filtered in through the Venetians, casting a single strip of illumination upon Zoe/Jennifer’s sleeping face. Lizzy-Beth marveled at the sight until she had to avert her eyes to the ceiling, just to keep from doing something inappropriate.
It wasn’t as if Lizzy-Beth were some sort of intimacy-lusting horn dog, seeking action wherever she could get it. She was gay, and hadn’t enjoyed a wealth of passionate love in her life, but the one-on-one emotional connection remained more important. Lizzy-Beth knew she couldn’t exactly have an emotional connection with a girl who couldn’t even remember her own name. And she might have been jumping the gun, but she couldn’t help wondering if fate had a hand in whatever was going on here.
At 28, Lizzy-Beth Kessie Williams had been a lifeguard at the Inn for three years. Around the time she graduated swim college, her finances were drained from paying off student loans, and she needed some income. The Bayside was looking for a lifeguard, and had a room reserved for the candidate for as long as needed or desired. Lizzy-Beth, who was strapped for funds and also needed a place to crash while getting her living together, saw it as an ideal opportunity. Fortunately for Zoe, though the hotel upheld could not honor their scan request without ID, Lizzy-Beth had free rein in her own room. She and her own guests came and went as pleased.
Even as a little girl, Lizzy-Beth never wanted to get bogged down in ruts. She always wanted to keep things a little shaken up; she didn’t like that which was boring, routine and predictable. This trait was a factor in her decision to nick her first name from Elizabeth. Of course, she could get away with more spontaneity at a younger age than now as a grown-up, a fact she’d just have to live with.
She’d decided to be a lifeguard because she enjoyed helping people, and was skilled in both swimming and first aid. So the vocational path was right up her alley. The scary part was that this post placed a fair deal of pressure squarely on her shoulders when someone fell prey to a life-threatening emergency. And though she was adept at her job, she wasn’t omnipotent. The rewarding part was that this line of work was far from thankless. When she succeeded in her intrepid rescues, she was often lavished in hearty thanks and hugs. This may not have been true in Zoe/Jen’s case, but Lizzy-Beth understood the girl was thoroughly disoriented. She would need a while just to be able to see straight, much less get her memory back. She felt so sorry for her.
At the same time, Lizzy-Beth had to be honest in admitting to a certain intrigue in this unusual setup. Whatever the circumstances, she had ended up tonight with a pretty girl in her bed. Once more, she couldn’t emphasize to herself enough that she couldn’t actually do anything but let her sleep. But that was all right; they’d spend the following day together coming up with ways to help restore the girl’s memory, and Lizzy-Beth would tell about herself and her life. Perhaps something would ring a bell. Common ground could be struck upon. Anything was possible.
Anything is possible, she thought, shutting her eyes with a smile. Hee-hee-hee…
Whoa. Down, girl. Come on, don’t go there. You know she’s off-limits.
I know, I know…
Pondering the possibilities of sense-jogging activities in which they could engage, Lizzy-Beth soon too fell to sleep.
Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014, 9:52 a.m.
Morning dawned anew courtesy of Sunny Ray breaking through cloud remnants, gently encouraging the Earth to wake up and say hello. Last night’s weather had resulted in some wrought havoc throughout Juniper and the Fisherman’s Bay resort, but the worst to be dealt with was a felled tree on the shoulder of Solomon Road. Citizens and especially vacationers were delighted to see the weather was mild, pleasant and sweet once more, that they could get back to enjoying their outdoor time.
Lizzy-Beth had turned off her alarm clock so she and Zoe/Jennifer could sleep in. When they’d both awoken, Lizzy-Beth provided her with a couple of articles from her closet.
“I don’t know how close you may be to my own size,” she said, “But you’ve gotta wear something.”
At 5’3”, her amnesic new friend was three inches smaller, and carried a slightly narrower build than she, but slipped nicely into one of Lizzy-Beth’s tank tops and pair of shorts. And then of course she had her own flip-flops. The first thing Lizzy-Beth did afterwards was take them out to breakfast. And while she’d solicited Zoe/Jen’s opinion out of good manners, the girl wasn’t exactly able to offer one.
“Okay, here we go,” she remarked as they parked beside a large restaurant. “Nikki’s. This is one of my favorite places. Y’ever been here?”
Zoe/Jennifer shot her a helpless look.
Lizzy-Beth nodded sheepishly. “Right. Sorry.”
A hostess placed them in a booth. Lizzy-Beth produced a spiral notebook she’d brought with a pen clipped to its rings.
“All right, I thought we’d try to do this by documenting our experiences, looking for clues and paring away,” she explained.
“Thank you, Lizzy-Beth,” said Zoe/Jen. “And thank you for taking me out to breakfast. I…literally can’t tell you what this means to me.”
“Hey, no problems!” Lizzy-Beth waved it off. “Tell you the truth, this is kinda fun for me too. I don’t wanna make you feel like a project, or turn your misfortune into my hobby, but…I’m interested. I wanna help you.”
She was met with a warm smile of approval and appreciation.
“And in the process, I’ll tell you about myself so you can get to know me too.”
Zoe/Jennifer’s eyes fell upon the menu.
“Good heavens, look at the size of this thing!” she commented.
Lizzy-Beth nodded. “That’s why I took us here. Not only’s the food great, but they can make anything. Selection’s unbelievable.”
Having only heard half of what she said, an excitedly hungry Zoe/Jen flipped enthusiastically through the breakfast section.
“Oooh, crepes…” she admired. “Blintzes…cereal…pancakes, waffles, French toast, fruit, sides, appetizers…it all looks great.”
Her mouth was beginning to water. She had to be careful not to start drooling on the laminated pages. As she browsed, a cute brunette in her mid-20s approached in her apron with pad and pen.
“Good morning, ladies!” she greeted. “My name’s Carolyn, I’ll be taking care of you this morning. Can I start ya off with a bevvie?”
Lizzy-Beth asked for a glass of orange juice. Zoe/Jennifer requested chocolate milk.
“Excellent choice,” smiled Carolyn, scrawling waitress shorthand on her pad. “A’right, we’ll get those right out for ya. Go ahead and have a look through the menu, and I’ll be back in just a couple secs!”
Carolyn pranced back to the kitchen. Lizzy-Beth watched as she headed away.
“Gosh, she’s pretty,” she remarked.
“Hm?” Her friend looked up from the enormous plethora of available meals.
“The waitress. You think she’s cute?”
Zoe/Jen turned in the direction of the kitchen. “Oh, I, uh…I dunno. I didn’t really notice.”
“Ah, well, ’s not important. So…what do you think? Anything seem more familiar?”
“I really don’t know, Lizzy-Beth. I’ve got…just, like…really spotty, vague recollections of this and that, at the most. Like…I can see what looks like a…golf pencil, a quarter, a…thing I can’t really identify, and…a hair dryer.”
Lizzy-Beth opened her notebook and started scribbling.
“Fascinatin’…” she remarked. “Seems a little like dream interpretation. Maybe we should get one of those books.
“Okay, anything else?”
“’Kay…can you describe the thing you can’t identify?”
“Not really,” Zoe/Jennifer admitted. “That’s how spotty it is.”
“Hmmm…’s too bad we can’t find a good psychologist around here. They don’t exactly drum up a lot of business in vacation resorts.”
Carolyn returned with the drinks and asked if they were ready to order. Lizzy-Beth got a dish of Swedish crepes and Zoe/Jennifer finally settled on the sampler: a little bit of everything for a tiny bit of coin. Carolyn noted, took their menus, returned them to the stand and trotted off to her next customers. The girls sat through a moment of silence before Lizzy-Beth spoke up again.
“Well,” she said, dropping her pen on the open notebook page, “This seems as good a time as any to tell you about me. So le’ssee…my full name’s Elizabeth Kessie Williams, I’m 28, I’m a fun-lovin’ lesbian, my birthday’s March 3rd, and I was born and raised in St. Paul. I went to Broughton High School, I was in the marching band, science club and swim team. Then I went to swim college, and that’s how I eventually ended up at the Bayside Inn as a lifeguard. It’s a nice job, but I dunno if it’s the kinda thing I can do the rest of my life, and I’m not sure what else I wanna do yet. I like…tennis, fishing, riding horses, and Su Doku…I’m afraid of bees, clowns, fire, and nightmares…I hate rude ‘a’-holes, violence, and seeing people in rotten moods…and I love kittens, loud rock music, chocolate cake, strawberry wine, and passionate lovemaking.”
Zoe/Jennifer arched her brows in surprise hearing this final declaration stated in the same matter-of-fact tone as the rest. What was more, Lizzy-Beth punctuated the admission with a delightful mixture of coyness, silliness, and playful seduction. She kept her smiling face modest in case her affection fell on blind eyes. She may have been on a mission to help the girl reclaim her powers of recall, but it didn’t mean she couldn’t engage in a bit of harmless flirting. She couldn’t anticipate whether her buddy girl might feel the same way about her, but she could hope.
Zoe felt her own facial muscles draw up into a smile as she studied Lizzy-Beth’s quirky grin. She adorned it with a bunny-like scrunch of the nose. Zoe noticed for the first time just how attractive she was. Lizzy-Beth had blonde-lit brunette hair, parted off-center and curtaining down the right side of her face. She sported thin brows above her limpid brown eyes, and that scrunchy nose was so petite and cute it just begged to be tickled, tweaked and nuzzled. Her cheekbones had a feminine chisel to them, and framed her funny smile quite marvelously. Her lips were full, pink, plushy and…inviting.
This was to take nothing away from Zoe’s own pulchritude. She was quite the looker herself, with feathery blonde hair and sapphire eyes, with a unique touch of gold around the corners of her irises. She had a soft, pronounced nose, a subtle nuance of natural blush in her cheeks, and yummy-looking red lips that required no accentuating touch-ups. The enamel of her pearly whites gleamed off both the artificial light inside and the natural glow filtering through the window. When she smiled at her, Zoe/Jennifer’s face became a happy land Lizzy-Beth could’ve explored indefinitely.
Neither of them hardly even noticed when Carolyn returned with their meals.
“Here we are…” said the waitress, setting down Lizzy-Beth’s first. “Swedish crepes…and you’ve got the sampler.
“Okay, ladies!” She clapped. “Please do enjoy. Anything else I can get you right now?”
Their eyes barely left each other’s faces.
“Oh, I…I think we’re fine, thank you,” Lizzy-Beth finally replied, casting Carolyn a pleasant glance.
“Terrific!” said Carolyn. “Bon appétit!”
The food was lovely, and the flavor did not go unsavored, but it failed to captivate their undivided attention. Both girls grew yet more engrossed in one another’s remarkable foxiness. It was less than ideal to act on the urges settling on all four shoulders. But this didn’t hinder them from drinking in the tall glasses of goodness sitting across the table. And as their eyes grew happier and fuller of love, so did their tummies.
After breakfast, they reentered the car to make their next stop. Lizzy-Beth had begun putting them together an itinerary for the day. She ferried them next to the Surf ‘N’ Stroll, a retail outlet that offered summer clothing and accessories both stylish and affordable, for folks wishing to be chic on a tight budget.
“So, I know you probably don’t remember your exact size right now, although you look like a small to me. But why don’t you find some cute stuff, take it into the fitting room and have at yourself?” said Lizzy-Beth with a wave of the hand.
Zoe/Jennifer realized what Lizzy-Beth was generously giving her next.
“Oh my gosh, you’re gonna buy me clothes??” she asked in amazement.
“Well, of course! If we both wear my stuff, I’ll run out of outfits super-fast and have to spend twice as much on laundry.”
Zoe threw a hug on her.
“Oh, thank you!” she exclaimed. She planted a grateful kiss on Lizzy-Beth’s cheek, which was not unnoticed.
“Thank you so much, Lizzy-Beth!” she reiterated. “That…sounds like the kind of thing I…might refuse ordinarily—I mean, I can’t know for sure—but under this circumstance, I…I mean, I just don’t know how to thank you for all this! I love you!” she chuckled.
Lizzy-Beth’s heart swelled with premature devotion. She suspected Zoe/Jen meant this in a more or less friendly manner, but again, it didn’t mean she couldn’t augment the atmospheric emotions with her imagination.
“I love you too, honey,” Lizzy-Beth chuckled back, trying to make it sound like she was kidding. “Now let’s find us some pretty threads, what’d’ya say.”
Lizzy-Beth and Zoe stayed in relatively close proximity until the latter found some things she wanted to try on. She approached the fitting room, then stopped and turned back for a moment to throw Lizzy-Beth a smile and thumbs-up.
Lizzy-Beth returned the thumbs-up, wishing Zoe/Jen her desired luck. When her pal disappeared from her line of sight, she placed a hand on her chest, sighed out her breath, and felt her heart beating extra vigorously.
Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014, 2:33 p.m.
The Surf ‘N’ Stroll the girls visited was but one in a legion of stores throughout the resort. Lizzy-Beth, who lived here and thus knew the area better than most tourists, opted for a location in decent distance, with a wide assortment of stuff, and friendly, knowledgeable staff. This store was also on the way to the next stop: Barnes & Noble, where she purchased them some helpful-looking books on amnesia. Finally, before returning to the hotel, they were feeling a tingle in their sweet teeth, and there was no hurry, so they traversed the boardwalk for some saltwater taffy.
Back in Lizzy-Beth’s room, she’d ordered up some room service—a nice complimentary bonus for employees—opened her laptop, slipped on a pair of reading glasses, and cracked the newly purchased tomes. A few studious moments later—
“It says here one technique to help treat amnesia is word association,” Lizzy-Beth told her, raising her eyes to meet Zoe/Jen’s. “Wanna try it?”
“Sure, sure, I’ll try anything.”
“Okay, good. So I’m gonna say a word, and you say the first word that pops into your head. Ready?”
“A’right, now remember, there are no right or wrong answers. Just whatever comes to mind. Okay, first word: ‘first’?”
“‘Cut’? Oh, interesting,” said Lizzy-Beth, taking a second to type Zoe/Jen’s answers.
“Okay then, ‘side’?”
“Eyebrow”?… “Okay, ‘eyebrow’?”
Lizzy-Beth paused for a moment to take a look at all her friend’s responses. She’d mixed in the elements of the daydream Zoe/Jen came up with at the restaurant with a list of unrelated words. And she was starting to pick up a theme. She decided to continue along this path and see what happened.
Aha. Yes, she was definitely onto something.
Lizzy-Beth nodded confidently. “Wow. Well, my friend, we can always do more of these later, but for right now…not to get your hopes up too soon, but…I think we may’ve made a small breakthrough.”
Zoe beamed. “Really??” She seemed unaware of the common thread in the wordplay.
“That’s right,” grinned Lizzy-Beth. “Just from our word association, I reckon that you are either: one, in the cosmetology business…two, soon to be, while studying cosmetology in school…or three, otherwise highly interested in it.”
Eyes wide open in motivated thought, Zoe placed a few fingers over her pursing lips.
“Does that ring any bells?”
She shut her wide open eyes and concentrated hard.
“Am…am I…a cosmetologist?”
A hopeful Lizzy-Beth hopped up and scampered to her bathroom, from where she brought back her brush and palette. “Let’s find out!” she announced, willing to take a chance. “We’ll have a little fun, if nothing else. Wanna do my makeup?”
They exchanged sweet smiles before Zoe/Jennifer practically snatched the objects right out of Lizzy-Beth’s hands.
“That does sound like fun!”
Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014, 3:18 p.m.
Lizzy-Beth took a breath in excited anticipation. “Yes!”
“Open your eyes.”
“Oh my gosh!” whispered Lizzy-Beth, gaping into her reflection in the mirror, a proudly smiling Zoe/Jennifer beside her.
“I…I look…I look…”
She slowly shook her pretty head in disbelief.
Her charmed friend took her arm and hugged it, grinning into the mirror with her. Lizzy-Beth turned to her, still stunned—and indeed stunning. The bonk Zoe’s head absorbed had indeed brought about a catastrophic memory-quake that rattled everything loose in her mind. But miraculously, some of her most quintessential talents—like her tricks and tips in applying makeup and styling hair—remained flawlessly intact. Her ID, contact info, and other things she’d grown to take for granted were swept to unknown reaches somewhere deep inside, but she could retrieve and reach into her bag of cosmetological tricks at the ready. It was virtually untouched.
“My God, honey, you’re a genius!” Lizzy-Beth proclaimed.
“Yyyyeah, I…guess so…” contemplated Zoe, gingerly brushing a stray strand of hair behind Lizzy-Beth’s ear.
…How’d I do that?...Maybe I didn’t lose as much of my memory as I thought.
They turned back to the mirror in Lizzy-Beth’s vanity. Zoe’s eyes fell upon the sink, where lay a magazine.
“Oh, what’s that, Marie Claire?”
“Yeah, I have a subscription. That one’s a couple years old, but now and then I like to go through the back issues and just…y’know, reread ’em. Just for my own pleasure.”
“Who’s that on the cover? She looks familiar.”
“Oh, Zooey Deschanel. You know her, right? She’s on that show New Girl? She was also in a bunch of movies before that.”
“Yeah, she’s a doll, isn’t she? Cute as a button. Little-known fact about her—” stated Lizzy-Beth. “That goofy spelling of her name comes from a male character in this J.D. Salinger book from the ’50s. And don’t quote me on this, but I think as a boy’s name it’s pronounced ‘zoo-ee,’ with an ‘oo’-sound. But hers’s pronounced just like normal.” She chuckled. “That’s just one of those random trivia things I know. Probably found it out from reading one of those things.”
“…Zzzzoh-eeee?” Zoe repeated, sounding out the syllables.
Lizzy-Beth turned back to her friend, whose face had metamorphosed. The confused lass was gazing blankly into the mirror, actually on the verge of culling an epiphany from the rubble of her brainquake.
“…Jen?” asked Lizzy-Beth.
A shake of the head. A few more seconds passed. Finally—
“…I don’t think my name is Jen.”
Lizzy-Beth shrugged matter-of-factly. “Well, I mean, I don’t really think it is either, babe. I was just kinda calling you that, y’know, as a place-filler. It’s one of the most common names there is, but I figured the chances are pretty slim it’s actually yours.”
Zoe gave another slow shake of the head, not unlike Lizzy-Beth’s upon seeing her newly made-up face.
“No, no, I mean…
“…I think I may have just remembered my name.”
Lizzy-Beth gasped. “No way! What is it??”
“This is really weird, but…I think it’s actually Zoe.”
“Oh my God, that’s amazing!” said Lizzy-Beth. “Do…do you remember anything else?”
“Um…” Zoe shut her eyes, trying to concentrate some more. “I don’t…” She sighed. “Oh gosh, I dunno!”
“Well, that’s okay! That’s okay!” said Lizzy-Beth, taking her hands to lead her back out into the room. “We can keep working on it!” She returned to her bed and laptop and went on typing. “A’right, so we know two things now: one, that you’re somehow or other involved in the beauty industry, and two, your name very well might be Zoe.”
“I have a really good feeling about it, Lizzy-Beth. I must’ve gone through a hundred names in my mind, but when I saw that magazine, something clicked inside that was much clearer for me than anything else has been!”
“Excellent! Awesome!” encouraged Lizzy-Beth. “Okay, let’s see, what else can we do?”
Zoe stretched. “I think I’d like some fresh air. Can we maybe go out on the balcony?”
“Of course!” Lizzy-Beth picked up her laptop and books. “My Wi-Fi works fine out there.”
The temperature outside had reached its day high of 82° as they slid open the door and stepped out. Loose strands of otherwise in-place hair swirled aimlessly in the balmy, saline breeze, gently whapping their owners in the faces. Now feeling more confidence with the recall of her name, Zoe laid her head back, shut her eyes and lips, smiled, and inhaled the sweet air through her pronounced nose. She listened to Lizzy-Beth’s fingertips and nails tapping and clicking her laptop’s keyboard as she continued research. They settled into a short silence.
“Mm, it is so beautiful out here,” Zoe gushed.
“Yeah…just look at those palm trees swaying down there,” Lizzy-Beth pointed.
Zoe opened her eyes. The reference to waving palms registered in her brain…and swept away some more rubble.
“…Palm?” she whispered.
The same look of realization washed over Zoe’s face once more. Her eyes and mouth opened congruently wider. Lizzy-Beth noticed out of the corner of her eye.
“Zoe? Babe?...What is it? D’you remember something else?”
“I…think so, yeah…”
“Aces! What is it??”
“Well, this seems a little weird too, but…
“…I think my last name might be…Palm.”
“I…think. I just got that feeling again. But, that…that’s a kinda weird last name, huh?”
Lizzy-Beth opened a new tab in her browser. “Hang on, let me Google it.”
“Oh! Oh, I found some Facebooks!...Hmmm…no…no…don’t think so…no…”
Zoe leaned over to take in Lizzy-Beth’s search conducting as she ruled out possibilities.
“Hmph,” Lizzy-Beth eventually concluded. “Maybe that’s not your last name.”
“It’s possible, I guess. That feeling did seem pretty strong, though. Maybe if you tried to, like, specify, or narrow down the search?”
“Oh, you mean like put something else in there too. Good idea! Okay, let’s try ‘cosmetology.’”
Returning to the top of the page, Lizzy-Beth clicked in the search field, typed, “Zoe Palm” in quotes, closed them, added the additional desired word, and clicked Enter.
“All right, we’ve got more results for Palm Beach, Palm Springs, couple beauty sh—”
Lizzy-Beth stopped scrolling as something caught her eye.
“Waaaaait a second…”
“This looks like a site for a beauty shop called Zoe’s…” Lizzy-Beth mused, “…Not too far from here, right in Juniper! And…”
She paused, perusing the main page and links. Zoe grew more anxiously impatient. This seemed more than vaguely familiar.
“…What?” she reiterated. “And what??”
Lizzy-Beth clicked on the staff members link. The next she did was cry out in revelation.
Her shout was so great, several vacationers down on the boardwalk looked up to see what had happened.
“Zoe, look! Look! Could it be Palmer?”
Zoe was starting to get a little dizzy from all this intense thinking, but not such that her mind couldn’t be jolted by this discovery.
“Oh my God, Lizzy-Beth, I think you’re right!”
Lizzy-Beth eagerly clicked on her link. A new page began loading, consisting of an image and miniature bio.
“Oooh! There’s a picture!” Lizzy-Beth announced, growing more exhilarated by the moment. “Let’s see if I can enlarge it!”
She clicked. To the girls’ delight and elation, the screen went blank, and a large, blurry rectangle appeared, slowly downloading. It looked like it could be her, but the connection was taking its sweet time.
“Come on…come on already!” Lizzy-Beth urged. “Come on, you slow piece of—!”
The page and picture finished loading. And sure enough…there she was.
“AH!” Lizzy-Beth repeatedly exclaimed. “It worked! Zoe, it’s you!”
Zoe was so euphoric she automatically began to cry.
“It is me!” she half-laughed and half-wept with joy.
“Omigosh, that’s fantastic!” Lizzy-Beth laughed giddily. “And wow, babe, the camera loves you! Wait, wait, let’s read the bio!” She went back to the biography page and read.
“‘At 30, Zoe Trix Palmer has been having a ball in the beauty game for four stylish years. Growing up in Rochester, Minnesota, she attended the Quartet Academy before relocating to Minneapolis to begin her career with the establishment of Zoe’s Salon & Shop in 2010. She insists on only the highest quality top-line products and services for the benefit of her clientele. She takes modest, professional pride in the fact that her customer reviews are highly recommendatory of her and speak for themselves. Her areas of expertise include hair, makeup, nails, waxing, and mani-pedis. She holds her customers in the highest esteem, and loves meeting people both in and out of the office. In her spare time, Zoe enjoys reading, roller-skating, billiards, swimming, fine dining’…”
Lizzy-Beth paused to look back up at Zoe as she memorized the final nine words.
“…‘And making new friends, not necessarily in that order.’ Aw, how adorable is that??”
Zoe, needless to say, was astonished. “Wow,” she breathed. “Oh my God, Lizzy-Beth, it’s…it’s all coming back to me now! It’s…it’s just all…all of it! My-my childhood, the…growing up, school, beauty college, opening the shop, the…list of hobbies there…I’m-I’m just…oh my stars, Lizzy-Beth, I…I am totally dazed here! I—…it’s…all of a sudden, it’s like someone went in my memory, refreshed everything and cleaned it all up…and it’s in perfect order now!...I feel like a totally new girl!!”
Lizzy-Beth chuckled again. “Well, that makes sense, Miss Deschanel,” she joked.
“Oh, Lizzy-Beth!” Zoe threw her arms around her. “You’re the best! I can’t believe this! This is incredible!”
Lizzy-Beth carefully removed her hands from the laptop to hug Zoe back. It felt very nice. She heard Zoe sniffle happily, and a small tear trickled its way down her cheek. Plink! it fell on Lizzy-Beth’s shoulder.
They held their seated embrace for a few moments before Lizzy-Beth remembered—
“Oh, and hey! You know what else this means!” she proclaimed. “Now that we know your name, we can go down to the desk and find your room number and get your stuff!”
“Ohhh-ho-ho!” Zoe again jovially half-laughed and half-cried, even happier than she couldn’t believe she could be a moment ago.
Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014, 3:57 p.m.
Now that they could supply the front desk with a full name, the receptionist found Zoe’s room number, escorted them to room 741, and asked Zoe to please provide her ID, which she was able to do once inside her purse.
“Here it is!”
The receptionist gave it a quick once-over and handed it back to her with satisfaction.
“All right. Thank you, Miss Palmer, and enjoy the rest of your stay.”
Slam went the door, and the girls were alone in Zoe’s room. Zoe wasted a grand total of zero seconds.
“Ohhhh!” she gushed, trying as best she could to leap into the air in slow motion. It went without saying how thrilled she was to have her room and belongings back—to say nothing of her memory. The first thing she picked up was her purse.
“Oh, my purse, my beautiful purse!” she giggled, audibly kissing it all over. She pranced all around, similarly rejoicing over her beautiful clothes, her beautiful suitcases, her beautiful soap, her beautiful toothbrush. An almost equally ecstatic Lizzy-Beth stood by the bed, clasping her hands to her heart, watching her companion celebrate having everything splendidly back as it was. Zoe danced back out into the room, practically pounced on Lizzy-Beth, landing them both in the generous mattress, and squeezed her.
“My friend, my dear, lovely friend!” Zoe giddily chuckled. “How can I ever thank you??”
Lizzy-Beth darted her eyes away, arching her eyebrows provocatively with a mischievous smirk. Her voice lowered.
“Is…that a rhetorical question?” she asked, demurely batting her lashes.
For a short time, they just lay together and cuddled. Lizzy-Beth was dying to kiss her, to feel those naturally ruby red lips making love to hers, but yet more, she was dying to be kissed. She yearned for the precious reality that Zoe wanted and needed her just as much as she did Zoe. She longed for the promise that her already deep feelings of affection would be returned. She hungered for the possibilities that she and Zoe Trix Palmer could be ever so much more than just overnight friends.
She silently mouthed her name.
Zoe smoothed her light-blue polished nails over Lizzy-Beth’s smile-bearing cheek.
“Thank you so much,” she whispered, feeling another tear approach. Had her voice been activated, it would have cracked.
Lizzy-Beth maintained her silly grin.
“Are you talking to me or God?” she whispered back.
Zoe again blessed her with her heavenly laughter. “Both.”
“Are you thinking what I’m thinking?”
“I…dunno, Lizzy-Beth…what’re you thinking?”
Lizzy-Beth gave a coy, kittenish leer.
“I dunno,” she echoed, adding a dash of sauciness to her tone. “What’re you thinking?”
Zoe stroked her index fingernail down Lizzy-Beth’s scrunchy, ticklish bunny-like nose, making her giggle.
“I think you know what I’m thinking.”
Lizzy-Beth’s heart quickened. Her juices flowed, dampening a very specific area.
“So that’s a yes??” she asked, trying to contain her growing enthusiasm.
Zoe flipped her own eyebrows at her.
“I think it is.”
“Oh my gosh…” Lizzy-Beth murmured in increasing intensity. “So…
“We’re really gonna do this?”
“Oh, you bet,” Zoe uttered back. “We’re gonna do it, a’right.”
She leaned in, waited for Lizzy-Beth to close her eyes, and announced—
“We’re gonna get more pizza for dinner!”
Lizzy-Beth’s eyes rapidly blinked back open. That was not precisely what she was hoping or expecting to hear. Still holding onto one another for the moment, Lizzy-Beth tried to alleviate this unplaceable moment.
“O—…oh,” she stammered, clearing her throat. “Well, I mean, that-that’s cool…I mean, y’know, I love pizza, of course, um…”
Zoe chortled. “You silly girl, I’m just messing with ya!”
And with that, she proceeded to make Lizzy-Beth’s dream come true.
All four eyes closed tenderly as wild colors and other psychedelia dazzled their senses. The first kiss was dear, grand, sublime, and true. Lizzy-Beth knew she’d been feeling something strong and undeniable these last fifteen hours, including the time they’d spent sleeping in her bed. She was a born romantic, and the prospect of what she’d done for this girl the previous night had placed thoughts in her mind of wanting her and the girl closer together. It wasn’t entirely unlike a kitten she’d rescued from a shelter at a younger age. She wanted to keep it and love it for as long as it would have her.
Zoe surprised even herself, not having expected things to progress like this…but she literally owed this young lady her life. She may have just been doing her job, but Zoe remained enchanted by Lizzy-Beth’s steadfast devotion—to the preservation of her life, the restoration of her memory. There was a world of truth in the things she’d said. She honestly didn’t know how to begin thanking Lizzy-Beth enough, for everything. What she did know was that the lass was a figurative—bordering on literal—angel, and that she was irresistibly pretty. The makeup job Zoe’d performed on her didn’t hurt, if she did say so herself, and she had a feeling Lizzy-Beth was already fostering a crush on her. And sincerely, Zoe couldn’t fight the mirroring feelings she’d been developing as well.
Their first marvelous kiss afforded time to get their limbs in motion, snuggling and caressing nearer all the time. When they could no longer sufficiently circulate oxygen through their noses, they brought the firework kiss to a merciful halt, and gasped as if breaking the surface of the pool again. They briefly settled down to catch their breath.
“Oh my good gosh,” Zoe moaned, blinking things back into clear view.
“Yeah,” agreed Lizzy-Beth. “I think we can safely say that that happened.”
“Yeah…wanna make it happen again?”
“Very much so.”
“Well, I’m right here, amiga,” Zoe challenged her, grinning defiantly. “Come and get me.”
Her tone and choice of words made Lizzy-Beth so desperately hot, her pussy started sweating. She did as her amiga commanded.
Blood raced and hearts began to pound, as subsequent kisses and fondling ensued. Zoe too felt her hormones kick into gear and her libido fire up as Lizzy-Beth cupped her face in both hands and nuzzled, exhaling warm breath into her mouth just as she’d done the night before administering CPR. Zoe had no way of remembering this the first time, but now wished she could. Lizzy-Beth couldn’t imagine Zoe being more turned on than she already was, and had she known the truth, it would’ve pleasantly surprised her. Zoe didn’t jump into bed with just anyone, but when she did, her system got to work fast.
The girls’ bodies heated and tightened up until their clothing felt constrictive. More sweat generated as the room’s temperature gradually rose, and a scent of succulent romance permeated the air. Zoe’s and Lizzy-Beth’s minds went flighty and silly as overwhelming happiness enveloped them. They nipped and pecked amid harmonizing giggles, naughty misbehaving fingers wandering where they would.
“Hee hee…I’m enjoying it here,” remarked Zoe. “I don’t think I wanna leave.”
“Lucky thing you don’t have to,” purred Lizzy-Beth. “You’re still on vacation, but I have to go back to work tomorrow.”
Zoe grinned deviously. “Not if I kidnap you and keep you as my slave you don’t.”
Lizzy-Beth pursed her lips and nodded pensively, while her randy parts went inflamed with passion at this thought.
“I like the way you think,” she winked with approval.
Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014, 5:32 p.m.
Post-sex, Zoe Palmer and Lizzy-Beth Williams could have continued kissing for eternity and nothing more. But pre-sex, they built to a point where neither could stand a moment longer before their desire morphed into downright need.
To this point they’d been lying on the mattress, on top of the sheets and comforter. Zoe was first to shed the new apparel Lizzy-Beth’d purchased for her that morning, and once she’d spectacularly bared herself in full, she burrowed under the blanket, poked her eyes back out from the edge, and kicked off a festive round of peek-a-boo.
Lizzy-Beth’s back was turned as she stripped. Peeking out from the blanket, Zoe’s eyes crinkled up as she smiled. She admired the shape of Lizzy-Beth’s spine and shoulder blades, and then her luscious-looking ass as her shorts and panties came down. Zoe tingled from nose to toes at the sight of her sweet buns. Lizzy-Beth turned her face around while keeping her back to her galpal.
Zoe reached out a finger and gave her right cheek a stroke. “Yes, honey-tush?”
Lizzy-Beth tingled herself, shut her eyes, and turned red in her powdered cheeks.
“Believe it or not…I’m actually a little shy about this,” she coyly admitted. “Would you mind please covering your eyes till I can get under the covers?”
Zoe found this only utterly adorable.
“Well, of course, cutie…but, from here, I don’t think you have anything to be shy about.”
Regardless, she honored Lizzy-Beth’s wishes, pulling the comforter up over her eyes. Making sure the curtains were closed as well, Lizzy-Beth crept to the other side of the bed, crawled in, and burrowed under along with Zoe. Zoe’s eyes stayed closed, and her lips contentedly grinning. When she felt Lizzy-Beth half-overlap her body, Zoe groaned with an ethereal expression on her face, reached for her, found her playmate’s warm, soft bare skin, and collected her.
“Still want me to keep my eyes closed?”
“I think you can open them now.”
“Nice…so how ’bout a little more of that mouth-to-mouth resuscitation?”
“Welllllll…tell ya what: I’ll give you mouth-to-mouth, if you’ll give me chest-to-chest. Maybe even a little mutual…” She lowered her voice even softer. “…Pussy love?”
“Let me think about that a moment. Okay, deal.”
Picking up where they’d left off, Zoe and Lizzy-Beth did their best to mummify each other in their limbs. They smothered one another in kissprints, nuzzles, and the occasional indentation of teeth. Their breasts indeed made close friends, lovingly mushing together and interlocking like puzzle pieces. It felt so wonderful, both pounding hearts melted. Neither could imagine it feeling better for the other.
Their legs pretzeled. Their hands clenched into fists around each other’s backs. Their toes curled as they shared leg massages with their soles. Blazing hot smoky kisses were desirously stolen, stolen back, and once more, at an alarming rate. Hot, wet passion surges fired through deep recesses in both soft, perspiring feminine bodies, until they could no longer bear it.
“L—…Liz—…Lizzy-B—…I…I need y—…”
A panting Lizzy-Beth nodded, sweat running her makeup off.
“Copied, Zoe…I need you too.”
Unclenching fists, both loosened their grips and slid their paws downwards along each other at a moderate pace. They wanted to maintain some romantic discretion, but at the same time they couldn’t withstand the wait. Quivering fingers groped for each other’s precious womanhood. Lizzy-Beth arrived first, grazing Zoe’s tummy and beneath to finally pet her light, tufty bush. The promising sensations took hold of Zoe as she reached Lizzy-Beth’s own carefully groomed pussy. With no pubic hair to dull or stifle her sensations, the shy but eager lifeguard cried out in ecstasy.
“Oh, Zohhhhhhh-eeee!” Lizzy-Beth exulted gleefully. The awesome pleasure compelled her to forego any residual subtlety and go straight in for the kill. She reciprocated, groped right through to Zoe’s damp, waiting cunt, and began aggressively rubbing her slit. Zoe, whose nose at the moment was making love to Lizzy-Beth’s ear, moaned into her jaw and dug her teeth in for the hickey of a lifetime. Quickly secreting moisture welcomed the pussies’ digital visitors and beckoned them closer inside.
Soundless sweet nothings filtered into the steamy air and accentuated the girls’ pleasure like rainbow sprinkles, as the entire experience ascended another level. The two angels’ voices blended in a chorus of sublime goodness, losing their bearings as they blindly nipped and gasped for perpetual contact. They wanted as much tangibility between them as humanly possible, and more. A lot of mutual attraction and affection had built up between them in the eighteen fleeting hours. They had scooted directly past friends in their short time together.
It was hard for either to believe they had just met last night, hadn’t even known each other for twenty-four hours, and yet were at this moment making glorious, incredible, sensational love. But they didn’t want to think, for fear of diluting or compromising the magic with which fate had all but literally thrown them together. Legs around each other’s calves, their mutual thrusts continued, unabated, and with growing ferocity. They pumped and humped until they could no longer see the beauty before their dazed eyes.
They crushed their hands between sticky hot thighs, trying with stark determination to mash their famished cunts together. Their clits grew so hard and swollen it was no longer possible to conceal them beneath their hoods. Bolts of static lightning zapped them with stunning precision each time their clits brushed. Their surrendered heartstrings zinged like arrows of eros. The bed and hotel room surroundings vanished. The two of them and their sizzling sex were all that existed right now.
Their passion had become so extreme, so explosive, it made them cry. Jovial tears spilled from their fluttering eyes. Their hands and pelves found the rhythm to get lost in, sinking and penetrating their drenched, soaking pussies, deeper and deeper, sweeter and sweeter. Cosmic waves rode them and broke, flinging them to the ocean floor. Clenching and holding on until circulation was in peril, they knew it was upon them soon. Zoe was the first to pick up the signals.
“Oh God…OH GOD…” she croaked helplessly. “I’m c—…I’m cumming, Lizzy-Beth—
The announcement elated Lizzy-Beth so much, she felt herself pulled to the edge too.
“Me too!” she sobbed ecstatically. “ME TOO!”
The last few moments were pure surreality. Had either of the girls tried to think straight, they’d have failed in doing so. They spiraled through the final stretches of the alternate dimension they had created together just for themselves. Nothing would ever be the same once they made it back out.
“Oh, yes, my sweetheart, yes!” exclaimed Zoe. “Let’s try to cum together!”
“Anything for you, princess, anything for you,” Lizzy-Beth gushed.
Pulling out whatever stops were left, the girls went all-out. Almighty passion ruled their dual world as they strained, held, stroked and jilled one another frantically, ferociously, deliriously, relentlessly. They couldn’t turn back. Life as they knew it was left behind and abandoned. They clutched on for dear life as the rumbling within them finally erupted.
Outbursts of unisonous glory broke free as the climax avalanched Lizzy-Beth and Zoe, sending a tremendous power surge through their nerve systems. Scream after raucous scream punctured the silence as they raced back through to the indigenous dimension, through cloud beyond orgasmic, mindbusting cloud. Just as abruptly as it had begun, the next thing they knew…it was over. Mercifully, exquisitely over. Zoe ceased breast-to-breast resuscitation, and her head landed on Lizzy-Beth’s shoulder with a thud. She was again knocked cold…but there would be no memory loss this time.
Lizzy-Beth let her own head collapse into the pillow as the real world greeted them back. Sweat had collected their eyebrows and pasted countless stray hairs to their brows. She felt their thighs covered with cum…
…A warm, earthy, musty lather of wonderful lady cum.
My God, she thought in astonishment. We…really did just do that, didn’t we…
The drooling Zoe, whom the orgasm dizzied right out, was already snoozing on Lizzy-Beth’s shoulder, dead to the world. One part of Lizzy-Beth, who was still awake, thought she should get up and clean herself. The other part, which won without hesitation, told her to stay here with her dozing angel and enjoy the afterglow. There would be plenty of time for cleanup later. And they didn’t even have to wash the sheets; housekeeping would take care of that, she thought, with an embarrassed blush and giggle. She snuggled in nice and close to Zoe, held her, silently whispered that she loved her, and kissed her wet forehead.
As she closed her own eyes, she reflected on their very brief time spent in each other’s company. It really was remarkable what she’d been able to do for her. And she’d have to be nuts to blame Zoe for being grateful enough to repay her in this manner. She certainly wasn’t glad Zoe’d hurt herself, but she was so happy it granted them the opportunity for something this sure to be truly special. She wasn’t sure how Zoe’d react to those three magical words…it may have been too soon, too forward, but they had just made love, after all; it made sense to feel emotionally towards her as well.
She didn’t know how much longer Zoe was vacationing here, but it went without saying she wished for them to stay in touch after this. And…well, she had been working and living here for three years now, and…she did crave semi-constant shifts of routine and activity. Perhaps her time spent with Zoe could lead her to the next phase of her vocational or residential life. A next chance to shake things up a bit? Who knew? Once again, as she’d told herself last night in her own bed, anything was possible.
This night, though, they had a mouth-watering (and fresh) pizza dinner awaiting them!
All this thinking wore her out. There was no point trying to scientifically break it all down like this. She needed only relish it, to revel in it as she already was. No further action was necessary right now. Future concerns would be addressed when their time came.
And she was once again departing her conscious dimension.
She fell asleep with Zoe.