Vic stood alone in the bedroom, staring at the reflection in the full-length mirror as though taking notes. Dark hair, cropped close. Dark eyes, both by nature and by the distant look of loss in them. Full Mediterranean lips in an olive face. Torso covered by a black t-shirt. The leather jacket that went with it was thrown over a chair. Hips and legs clad in tight faded jeans that covered the tops of lace-up boots.
"Yeah, I'm a sight alright," muttered the well built butch woman. She snorted. Her jeans even bulged as that morning she had automatically donned the strapon she generally wore. Her eyes drifted to the night stand and the picture of her and Marissa. They looked so damn happy there. Marissa, the cute, blonde young femme tucked under her protective arm. Marissa, in her short skirt and heels and low-cut blouse. Marissa, who less than 10 days ago had left Vic a note telling her she was moving back with her old girlfriend. That note had been left not 24 hours after the last time she told Vic "I love you."
"Shit!" The word exploded from Vic. Moved by a flash of anger, she took two steps and swept the picture from the nightstand. The sound of shattering glass didn't make her feel any better. She went downstairs to the kitchen closet, got a broom and dust pan and bent to clean it up. Her lips curled in a smile with no joy in them. She did a lot of cleaning for a butch. But Marissa had never done much of it at all.
"Goddamn princess," Vic muttered as she dumped the broken glass and frame in the garbage. She hesitated, and then defiantly dropped the picture in after it. She took two steps, then turned and reached in the trash can after the picture. A sliver of glass pierced her finger and she swore loudly.
She rummaged through the medicine cabinet, finally getting out a band-aid and some disinfectant. She was an old hand at doctoring cuts and scrapes, having received more than her share of them, mostly from her bike. She went back to the kitchen and stared at the picture. It was where she had dropped it, balanced on the edge of the trash can. She snorted and kicked the lid closed.
Just then the phone rang. Almost eagerly, Vic snatched the handset up. With her mood right now it would be great to tell off some telemarketer.
"What?" She all but snarled.
"Vicky?" came an unfamiliar voice.
Vic was startled. No one but NO ONE called her "Vicky". Her parents had named her "Victoria" and the relatives who actually still spoke to her used that name, but this wasn't one of them.
"Who is this?"
There was a pause. Then, "Vicky, its Nora."
Vic was so surprised she almost dropped the phone. Of all the people that she thought might call, Nora was the very last one. After all, she had said she never would.
The voice was unfamiliar because Vic had only spoken to Nora via text messages on the Internet.
Some eight or nine months ago she had dropped into a chat room.
Supposedly it was for women only, and women interested in other women at that.
Vic had been burned twice in her first month there. Why some guy wanting to pretend to be a woman would actually suggest phone sex was beyond her. Maybe they thought they could convert her or something. Vic had done much better over the years making conversions HER way, but that didn't lessen the feeling of being taken for a sucker. She really hated that.
So that night she had stayed and listened to the conversation in the room, doing nothing more than throwing in an occasional remark. She had enjoyed the word play. Her attention had been drawn by a woman calling herself Nora44. She hadn't seen her before, but Vic really enjoyed the quips and teasing remarks with which the woman had laced her conversation. She also seemed to be quite a flirt.
Vic studied the woman's profile and her picture. Nice picture, that of an attractive but definitely grown woman. Not one of the myriad of 20 year old blondes with big chests that seemed to infest the chat room. Not that she was cynical or anything, but how many women like that needed a chat room to find a date on Saturday night?
When Nora had filled out her profile, she had been very open on some things and ignored some others. She listed simply that she was from "The South". Vic liked Southern women. She cheerfully admitted her age, the fact that she was a few pounds overweight and that her hair was growing gray. She said nothing about her relationship status or her profession. Vic noted that she did list her sexual orientation as "Bi".
Watching the conversation with one eye as she studied the profile, she saw Nora made a remark about art. Being interested in art herself, Vic made a comment in the main room to Nora. They chatted for a while before Nora left. When she did so, she made a flirtatious remark to Vic.
The next time Vic saw Nora she said hello and Nora replied with a cheerful "Hi sexy!" Vic had laughed and asked Nora if she was talking to the right person. Nora assured her she was and then began to banter with her. Vic, not normally known for "bantering" found she enjoyed it and they became friends.
Vic learned more about Nora. Nora's picture was of her face, with just a hint of what appeared to be black lace covering the top of her chest, the garment supported by thin black straps over her shoulders. As they became friends, Vic inquired as to the garment. Nora declined to answer, but the next morning when Vic checked her email she found Nora had sent her another picture.
Curious, she opened it and almost gasped. It was a full length picture of Nora. The outfit turned out to be a black teddy. Nora was wearing it with a pair of black heels, Her back was to the camera and she was looking over her shoulder with a grin, her hands on her hips. Vic nagged her memory for a moment about the familiar pose until she saw the caption. It said "My Betty Grable Pose".
The next time they chatted, Vic complimented Nora on her picture. Mischievously, she commented on Nora's deep soulful eyes. Nora replied that the reason her eyes looked so deep was that she had the picture taken without her glasses and she couldn't see a darn thing. Vic replied that the she didn't need glasses to appreciate Nora's legs and where they led.
On other things Nora was resolutely silent. When Vic asked how she had come to have the picture taken, Nora replied it was for "somebody" but wouldn't say whom. From side comments Vic was certain that Nora had two, possibly three children.
"She's probably married," Vic mused to herself once after a chat, which had included some rather brazen flirtation on both their parts. "That would explain her discretion. Or she could be divorced and her sexuality might cause trouble with her children's custody." She had finally shrugged her shoulders. "If she wants to tell me she will. After all, she's a friend, not a lover, even online."
That had changed during one chat. The teasing had grown intense and they had cyber sex. It wasn't Vic's first experience with online sex, but it had been one of the best. Nora was inventive and fun when it came to playing out a fantasy. Still, they were friends. She knew that Nora had a wide circle of pals, many of whom were known for playing online. Vic valued Nora much more as a friend than as an online playmate. To Nora she showed a side she didn't often reveal, even to herself. A side that was softer, a side that loved romantic poetry. A side that she felt she could trust to the other woman.
When Vic began to date Marissa, Nora was really pleased. Her comment "Everyone should have someone to share their life with", reinforced Vic's conviction Nora was married, or at least in a long-term relationship. When Marisa moved in Nora was ecstatic. Vic had stopped coming online shortly after that. Marissa thought it was "stupid".
Still, she had slipped on to have one final chat and had seen Nora. On a sudden impulse, she had given Nora her phone number.
"I know you said you never let your online and offline lives cross," she had explained. "But I just want you to have it."
"Okay, thanks." Nora had replied.
Vic had really thought nothing more of that night. Things with Marissa were splendid. "Fool," she scolded herself. She hadn't seen it coming at all, just been blinded by her infatuation with the pretty femme. She had been burned before, but this time she had really given her heart away.
The same night she had found the note, still in shock, she had just sat down at the computer and logged in for the first time in three months. Several regular chatters had greeted her. One was a friend and Vic had unburdened herself about Marissa. After that, she had not been back to the chat room. She hadn't seen Nora online. And now she was on the phone.
"Nora? Why are you calling?" Almost before the words were out of her mouth Vic regretted them. Why else would Nora be calling after all?
"Davia told me about Marissa. I'm so sorry, Vic."
"Did she tell you I'm a basket case or something?" Vic all but snapped.
"No, she didn't," Nora replied calmly. "She told me you had a stiff upper lip in place and acted like you were glad to be rid of Marissa. I knew better, of course."
"Of course." Vic paused and took a deep breath. Damn she was being bitchy. Nora didn't deserve that.
Amazingly, Nora laughed. "Yes, of course, you goose. You might be Vic the hard-core butch to the world but I know about the soft center under that crust." She sobered. "If you didn't have that soft inside you wouldn't be hurting. But I know you are, and I was worried."
"Thank you." Vic said, meaning the two words. "So," she tried to change the subject, "So where are you calling from?"
.... There is more of this story ...