"Excuse me," the tall redhead in the light green leisure suit and matching skirt said as she stepped up to the small desk just inside the restaurant entrance.
"May I help you?" the hostess asked with a smile as she looked up from her seating chart.
"My name is Gabrielle Adams, I'm meeting Julia Logan for lunch," the thirty-seven year old replied with an equally warm smile. "Has she arrived yet?"
"Oh yes, Mrs. Logan arrived just a few minutes ago," the younger hostess said as she stepped around the small podium. "If you'll follow me, I'll take you to her table."
Gabrielle followed the hostess through the small restaurant out onto the esplanade overlooking the East River. There, sitting at the next to last table was a thirty-nine year old blond.
"Gabrielle," Julia called out as she spotted her friend. She rose from her chair as Gabrielle approached and kissed her on the cheek. "I'm so glad you where able to make it. It's been much too long."
Gabrielle took the empty chair on the other side of the table, responding to the hostess's question if she would like something to drink by ordering a Pina Colada.
The hostess returned to her station, leaving a second menu on the table and saying she would send someone back with Gabrielle's drink.
"So how are you really?" Julia asked as the two friends were left alone. "It's been so long since you've even come into the city."
It had actually been seven months since Gabrielle had come into New York City from her home in the suburban town of Point Royal. A month prior to her last visit, her marriage had ended in divorce.
"I'm doing fine," Gabrielle said. "Things are going fine."
"I'm so glad to hear that," Julia replied. "Roger and I have been ever so worried about you. We've heard from Timothy of course, but barely a word from you in such a long time."
Julia Logan had been the Maid of Honor at Gabrielle's wedding. Her husband, Roger, had been Tim's best man.
"Well, I've been busy I guess," Gabrielle said, "but I'm ready to get on with my life again."
"That is so good to hear," Julia said as a young man in white showed up with Gabrielle's drink. "You're going to love this place," she added, changing the subject. "Madge Dawson told me the cuisine here is to die for."
Gabrielle thanked the boy who couldn't have been more than twenty and took a refreshing taste of the Pina Colada. As the waiter turned and headed back toward the bar, both women paused to watch him.
"Mmmm, speaking of things good enough to eat," Julia said, swirling her tongue across her lips for a brief moment.
"Julia, that's terrible," Gabrielle said in mock horror.
"Oh pooh," the older blond said back. "You can't tell me that you weren't thinking the same thing. I've known you way too long to think you've been living the life of a vestal virgin out there on the Island since you and Tim broke up."
"You make it sound like I've been holding weekend orgies," Gabrielle laughed.
"Well have you?" Julia asked, mirroring Gabrielle's horror with her own mock sincerity.
"Hardly," her friend laughed in reply, "but I'll admit that I've hardly been living a monastic life."
"Good, I was hoping it wouldn't take me too long to get you to the good stuff," Julia gleamed, "I want to hear all about it."
"There isn't really that much to tell," Gabrielle replied as she picked up the menu and scanned the day's specials. "I've been on a few dates but nothing special."
Gabrielle's answer was true enough but lacking the specifics that Julia normally thrived on. She had indeed dated a few men in her town now that she was once more available. In fact, she had even gone to bed with two of them.
Then, after she had slept with the second of them, a strange thing happened. At least strange to her. Gabrielle was still an attractive woman, a fact she was well aware of. Yet she found it surprising that the number of men showing an interest in her suddenly tripled.
It wasn't hard to learn that one, or perhaps both of her bed partners had spread the word that the newly available divorcee had a hair trigger libido. A rumor based in fact that had led to a list of men who wanted nothing more than to find out just how hair trigger it was.
Not wanting to be quickly labeled the town whore, something she had seen happen to others, Gabrielle had taken a step back to let the interest die down. Still, the desires within her remained.
If it was one thing Gabrielle had learned from her late marriage, it was that one should keep any indiscretions far from home. It was a lesson her husband had failed to learn.
A month ago, Gabrielle had gone up to New England with her daughter to visit the college Janice would be starting at in the fall. While there, Janice had run into some friends from her high school and elected to head back home with them instead of her mother. Remembering what it was like to be that age, Gabrielle had agreed.
As she was leaving the school, Gabrielle had impulsively given a lift to a young graduate student heading home after finishing his exams. The normal five-hour drive turned into an overnight trip with her sharing both a room and her body with him. She remembered it as a night far more memorable that those spent with anyone from Point Royal.
"What..." Gabrielle said.
"You looked like you were somewhere else for a moment," Julia said.
"Just remembering something, that's all." Gabrielle replied.
"Must've been something pretty nice from the look on your face," Julia said inquisitively, hoping that her friend might elaborate on the subject.
Before Julia could get anything more out of her lunch guest, a third woman joined them at the table. The waitress who'd come over to take their order was in her mid-twenties with long jet black hair tied in a ponytail down her back and a rich olive Mediterranean complexion. She wore a simple black and white uniform, the blouse of which seemed to strain to stay closed against an impressive chest.
"Have you ladies decided what you'd like to order?" the girl whose nametag identified her as Callista asked as she held her pencil over a small pad.
Julia and Gabrielle picked up their menus and gave their orders. Julia really didn't give the young woman a second glance, but Gabrielle had become totally fixed on Callista. Or more specifically, on a bright charm that caught the redhead's eye.
A half-inch in length and gold plated if not gold itself, the charm consisted of an interlocked double female symbol. Attached to a rope chain, it hung in the valley between Callista's large breasts.
Since she had begun to explore her new sexual freedom after almost twenty years of marriage, Gabrielle had developed no small fascination with both alternate lifestyles and sexual adventures. So far, having spent the night with a man almost young enough to be her son had been the most daring of her erotic adventures.
That fascination had extended to lesbianism and bisexuality, two subjects which were barely discussed the last time she was single. So far, her interests in the topics hadn't extended beyond the theoretical. Not including of course, her active imagination. An imagination that Gabrielle was sure at that moment, had just found a new subject.
After their entrees were delivered, the two friend's conversation returned to other topics. By the time they finished, Gabrielle was glad she'd come into the city to have lunch. It had been too long since she'd had a chance to sit down and enjoy herself with an old friend.
"I have to excuse myself for a moment," Julia said as she pulled a small package from her purse and rose from her chair.
"You go ahead, I'm fine," Gabrielle said as she returned to her meal.
The redhead had just finished the last of her lunch when she realized that someone was standing by her shoulder. Turning her head to the right, Gabrielle found herself once more looking right at Callista's gold pendant and the soft flesh that surrounded it.
"Can I get you anything else?" Callista asked.
"No, I think we're just about done." Gabrielle said as she realized she was staring and quickly averted her eyes.
"Don't worry sugar," Callista said in a low voice that no one else could hear as she leaned over and placed a small tray with the check on the table, "I don't mind a pretty woman taking a good look."
"I err..." Gabrielle said in an equally low embarrassed tone as she placed her charge card on the tray. "I was just curious about your necklace. It's very striking."
"Yeah," Callista said as she picked the tray back up. "A lot of people think my necklace is pretty striking."
Julia returned to the table, passing Callista as she did. Sitting down, she realized Gabrielle had paid the check.
"I thought I was the one who invited you to lunch?" Julia said.
"You can get it next time," Gabrielle replied as she spotted Callista coming back with the receipt for her signature.
As Gabrielle signed the receipt, this time making sure that she kept her eyes in check, she noticed an extra piece of paper under the bill. Folding it in half without looking at it, she pressed it under her charge card and slid both into her purse.
"I hope you'll both visit us again," Callista said as she picked up her copy of the paperwork.
"Oh I'm sure we will," Julia said as she gathered her things. "The food was really excellent."
"Yes it was," Gabrielle agreed as she also rose from her chair.
.... There is more of this story ...