A sudden flash of lightning filled the small cabin, causing the transistor radio to momentarily crackle with static. A few seconds later, the June night was filled with a resounding crash as the sound of thunder caught up with the light. The storm had been raging for a little over two hours, alternating between violent clashes in the sky and the steady patter of rain against the windows.
"That was a good one!" Exclaimed the dark haired girl as she clapped in appreciation of the sudden illumination.
"You wouldn't think so if we were out there." Replied her companion as she pointed out the large bay windows to the lake beyond.
"But we're not, are we?" The first girl retorted in a exaggerated pout. "Sometimes you can be such a worrier."
"You're right." The first girl answered. "But one of us has to have some sense. Otherwise you'd have us out on the lake because you'd get a better view."
"Hey that's an idea." Robyn said in mock seriousness. "We could take one of the boats down by the dock and..."
"Don't even think it..." Valerie cut her off in a dead stop tone.
Both girls then broke in laughter.
All in all, watching the storm and snacking on popcorn and the wine they had snuck out of the liquor cabinet wasn't the worst way the two 17 year olds could spend the night. Of course it wasn't what they had thought it would be when they come up to the lake two days before.
Robyn Grayson and Valerie Carter had been friends for 12 of their 17 years, ever since they had met on the first day of kindergarten. Back then, they had both been pudgy little girls more interested in games and dolls than anything else. With slight variations, that had continued right up until they began to hit puberty.
In Robyn's case, womanhood sprung upon her with a vengeance. She lost all her baby fat and in a single summer went through a growth spurt that caused her to fill up and out at the same time. Instead of the semi-plump tomboy, she found herself a very attractive young lady with a figure that drew boys like moths to a candle. It was during that summer that she finally appreciated her mother's insistence that she let her hair grow. Robyn had wanted to cut it short because it kept getting in the way. It now stretched down to a few inches below her waist.
Valerie also began to fill out that summer but unlike Robyn, she lost none of her childhood fat. She added more than a few inches to her height over the last few years but with them came more pounds than she liked to think about. Today she hit the scales at 160. Thankfully it was spread throughout her body giving her a mature full figured look.
Both girls sometimes wished that they could exchange bodies, at least long enough to see what it would be like. Valerie wished she could be as slender as Robyn. In turn, Robyn wondered what it would be like to have a 38D bust like Valerie's instead of her own small 34C.
Yet despite the physical changes, both girls had remained steadfast friends. They had seen other friendships fall apart when one friend became one of the popular crowd and then no longer wanted to associate with former friends. Robyn had become part of the in crowd, a head cheerleader and the girlfriend of the star quarterback. But she made it clear to anyone who even suggested that it would look better if she "dropped" Val, that the crowd, the cheerleaders and even the quarterback would go before her friendship with Valerie did.
In fact, the hardest adjustment to their friendship over the last few years hadn't been Robyn's rise in stature but Valerie's. Between both of them, Valerie had always been the smarter of the two. At least as far as the books were concerned. A constant presence on the honor roll, the short haired girl had finished the requirements for graduation six months early. And since she had also aced her SAT's, she'd been allowed to take courses at State this last semester.
Valerie had been home only a few days when her mother had announced that they were going up to the cabin for a few days and wouldn't it be nice if she invited her friend Robyn to come along. It would give them a chance to catch up on the last six months.
The first days of the trip had been pretty uneventful, just swimming in the lake, a little boating and barbecuing with the neighbors. Then this afternoon, Val's 14 year old brother, Bobby took a fall and twisted his ankle while climbing a tree. It had swollen up pretty good and her mother though it a good idea to take him into town and have it x-rayed, just to be sure.
Since Val's father couldn't make the trip, heading into town would leave the girl's alone, but Mae Carter said she would be back in a few hours. If they had any problems in that short time, well the closest neighbors were only a quarter mile away.
The wait in the small hospital turned out to be a lot longer than Mae had expected. By the time they were finished the storm was just beginning to hit. Since the old country roads had a tendency to wash out rather easily, especially the small bridge over Dobson's Creek, the safe bet was to stay in town until morning. So she had called the girls and told them that Bobby was fine and that they'd be back in the morning and not to worry. They'd assured her that they'd be fine.
"I bet you wished you'd stayed home this weekend." Valerie said as she took drained the last of the wine from her glass.
"I don't know, this is kind of fun." Robyn replied as she quickly refilled Val's glass.
"More fun than Sally Kellerman's Graduation Bash?" Valerie countered as she looked at the now empty wine bottle. It seemed like they'd just opened it. "That was tonight wasn't it."
"Yeh, I think so." Robyn said in a somewhat unconvincing tone as she stepped over to the bar and pulled out another bottle. "But I really wasn't planning to go to that anyway."
"Oh sure, the biggest party of the year filled with the most popular people in school and you were just going to stay home and do your nails." Val said as Robyn refilled her own glass. "If my mom hadn't waited until we were up here before mentioning it, I never would've asked you. It wasn't fair to put you on the spot, not wanting to say no to this trip. It's not like I'd be angry if you wanted to go to the party instead."
"I mean it, I really wasn't planning to go." Robyn insisted as Valerie looked on unconvinced. "I guess I'm finally beginning to realize what really stupid assholes some of those people are."
"Well, what do you know?" Valerie called out. "There is a brain in that pretty head after all. Sometimes you can open your mouth and speak up."
"Go to hell!" Robyn shot back in mock anger. "There are a lot of times I open my mouth."
"Yeh, but then it's usually to attach it to some dumb jock!" Val returned.
"Oh how sharp the tongue of a friend." Robyn laughed.
"Speaking of heads and sharp tongues, maybe we should go a little easy on this stuff." Valerie suggested as she indicated the glasses they both held. "Wouldn't do to have mom come back and find us sloshed."
"You worry too much." Robyn said. "By the time she gets back tomorrow we'll have had a good night's sleep and be fine."
"Today you mean." Valerie corrected as she looked at the large clock on the fireplace mantle and noted that it was one in the morning.
"Whatever..." Robyn said, grabbing another handful of popcorn.
"Does this new asshole category include Brian?" Valerie asked, drawing up a mental image of Robyn's on again off again quarterback boyfriend.
"Brian's both a prick and an asshole!" The long haired girl replied. "Turns out he was screwing both Jenny Davis and Helen Williams."
"That would be on the nights you were seeing someone else?" Valerie asked.
"Yes, I mean, that was different..." Robyn replied.
"Of course." Val smiled.
"What about you?" Robyn quickly asked, changing the subject. "You haven't said one word about the guys at State. You can't tell me you've been celibate all this time."
While Valerie hadn't Robyn's experience with boys, she was far from a virgin. There had always been guys who realized that she was cute in her own way and would rather date a girl who's idea of an intelligent conversation wasn't what new store was opening in the mall. That and the desire to get a really good look at those big boobs that filled out whatever she wore. Jocks, Nerds or somewhere in between, guys were still guys.
"Well I've been really busy these past few months." Valerie said, looking more than just a little uncomfortable. "College course are a lot more difficult than high school."
"Bullshit!" Robyn yelled back. "I can tell when you're lying. You're seeing someone."
"Well ... actually..." Valerie hesitated, she was finding it hard to say the words that floated unbidden in her mind.
"Come on, we've never had secrets from each other." Robyn insisted. "Didn't I even tell you when I screwed Mr. Peterson after he took me home from babysitting that night."
Valerie remembered all too well how excited Robyn had been when she called her up one night after midnight to tell her she'd just been fucked by Robert Peterson. A successful businessman in his late 30's, Valerie still wondered what drew a man like that to take such a chance with an 16 year old. She'd seen his wife many times and she was a very attractive woman. Some things she just would never understand.
"Yeh, I remember." She answered quietly, staring into the glow that blazed in the fireplace.
"So you know you can trust me. Come on." Robyn insisted. Valerie turned her gaze from the fire to her oldest friend. She could see in her hungry eyes that Robyn was possessed by a need to know. Still, the words wouldn't come.
"Is it a teacher, or a professor isn't that what you call them?" Robyn asked. "Are you sleeping with one of them?"
"No." Val simply replied.
"Is it someone that's married?" Robyn quickly continued.
"No." Val repeated.
"Then why can't you tell me?" Robyn asked once more.
Valerie stood up and walked over to the fireplace, again losing herself in the warm glow. She ran her hand through her short black hair and sighed. It'd been a real long day, and the need for sleep and the wine was beginning to be felt.
"Why don't we just drop this and get some sleep?" She said.
"Cause I want to know, that's why!" Robyn said. "I want to know what it is that you can't share with someone you've been friends with since we were five."
"Because you wouldn't understand, that's why?" Valerie replied.
"What wouldn't I understand?" came Robyn's reply. "A guy's a guy. God knows I've slept with a few jerks. So what's the..."
Robyn suddenly paused in mid-sentence. She brought her hand up to her still opened mouth in surprise. The reason Val didn't want to talk about it suddenly seemed crystal clear.
"Oh shit," She exclaimed. "He's black isn't he. You're sleeping with a nigger! What's your mother going to do if she finds out?"
Valerie just shook her head. It was bad enough that Robyn couldn't let the matter drop without her letting her narrow minded prejudices create all kinds of wild fantasies. "No, he's not black, or brown or yellow or for that matter white." Val finally answered, no longer caring how her friend would finally react. "If you really, really have to know - he is a she!"
A pregnant silence filled the cabin as Valerie caused Robyn to be speechless for the first time in her life. She was certain she had just flushed a dozen year friendship down the proverbial toilet. Staring once more into the comforting flames of the fire, Valerie found that she really didn't care. She was tired of hiding it. If her friend couldn't handle the truth, well then maybe their friendship was a mistake in the first place.
"What's her name?" Robyn asked.
"What?" Val asked, not actually hearing Robyn.
"I said, what's her name?" Robyn repeated. "Your girlfriend, or am I supposed to call her your lover?"
"Whatever you're the most comfortable with." Valerie finally responded, surprised at her friend's calm reaction. "Her name is Beth Moskowitz."
The name brought a sudden image of a tall dark eyed girl in Valerie's dorm. She had been introduced to her when she had gone up to State during spring break to take a look at the school.
"I remember her." Robyn said. "She's very pretty."
"Thanks." Val answered, unsure what else to say. "But it's already over between us. She wants someone who can be out in the open about our relationship. I'm not sure I'm ready for that."
"I'm sorry." Robyn offered. The emotion in her voice showing the sympathy was genuine. "You want to talk about it?" It had been a good long time since the two women had really sat down and had such an intimate conversation. It felt good to the both of them. Surprisingly neither of them felt tired anymore.
"I should apologize for that nigger remark." Robyn said. "I should know better than that, but sometimes the prejudices you're surrounded with are hard to ignore."
"Actually I'm pretty surprised the way you've taken this whole thing." Valerie said. "I almost expected you to call me a dyke."
"I'm not that bad, am I?" asked Robyn.
"I guess not." Val smiled.
"True, lesbianism isn't really a subject that comes up a lot in my circle of friends, but I'm not totally ignorant." she went on. "I know there's a lot more to a woman's interest in other women than the idea that she simply can't get herself a man."
Actually, that little tidbit was the core of most of her friends thinking on the subject. Dykes, as they preferred to call them, were ugly girls who couldn't get a man and so turned to each other.
Inevitably, some of their late night chat sessions would turn to sex. Robyn had always found it laughable as to what was considered acceptable and not. It was always ok to talk about how you fucked your boyfriend or a new position you tried. In fact, she could recall a night that Betty Lieberman demonstrated on a banana the perfect blow-job. Yet there was another night that Sally Keller asked one of the other girls how best to masturbate and found herself shut out of the group. Evidently, that was too close to sexual contact between one girl and another.
"Was Beth a one time thing or are you defiantly into women now?" asked Robyn.
"I don't know." came Valerie's reply. "I still find guys attractive, but I'm also attracted to girls too. To be honest, I've been attracted to girls for a couple of years. This was just the first time I had the opportunity to do anything about it. If Beth hadn't been so open in her sexuality, I'd still be thinking about it."
Robyn studied the face of her friend. The revelation that she had been attracted to girls for years sent her mind racing along a new track. It was almost a minute before she asked the question that repeated over and over in her head.
"Were you ever attracted to me?"
Valerie waited almost twice as long before answering. Just saying the words seemed to take a great load off of her. "I've been in love with you since I was 14." Valerie said
"Why didn't you ever say anything?" Robyn gushed.
"What was I going to say?" Valerie asked "Do you think you could've handled it?"
"Probably not." the long haired girl said after a moment's reflection. "I'm not really sure how I'm handling it right now."
"Do you want to let this drop and turn in?" Valerie asked as she looked at the clock. "It's almost one - thirty."
"No, I'm not tired." was Robyn's quick response. Robyn took a long hard look at her long time friend. Most of their life, they had been closer than sisters. Had one of them been born a man, they would've undoubtedly been lovers. Now that little hinge of fate seemed to have been removed. If that was what they both wanted. "What's it like?" Robyn asked. "Making love to another woman?"
"I could say it was softer, gentler than being with a guy." Valerie began. "But I don't think that would really describe it. I really can't put it into words."
"I didn't think so." Robyn smiled. "Then I guess you'll just have to show me."
"What... ?" Valerie responded in disbelief. "Do you know what your saying?"
"Maybe, maybe not..." Robyn grinned. "But I do know I love you too. This is about the only thing we haven't done together. I've always had a certain curiosity about it. That much I'm sure of."
Valerie was taken a little aback, unsure what to make of what she was saying or what to do next.
"Besides, I've gone to bed with guys for a lot less reasons." She laughed.
Valerie knew that much was certainly true.
Robyn leaned over and kissed Valerie. It wasn't the first kiss they had ever shared. There had always been the hello and good-bye as well as the holiday kisses. In addition, they had once practiced kissing one night back when they were 15 and they were just beginning to date guys. Robyn's first french kiss had been with Valerie. But all of those had been mechanical. Technically correct but lacking the feeling that you put into kissing a lover. This kiss had that feeling.