That day we went into their pod and locked the door, so we felt safe and secure, Ruth turned to me and said, "Anne, you look troubled."
"I am! What do we do? We can't go home, and we don't fit in here!"
Ruth looked at Yoo Jin and said, "Mani-pedi." Yoo Jin nodded.
"What are you two talking about?" said Anne. "A beauty treatment? How is having pretty nails going to change Frank's mind?"
Yoo Jin shook her head sadly. "Not for Frank, for you! You don't need pretty nails, you need to HAVE a mani-pedi."
Anne smiled. Here were two girls who Got It.
Ruth said, "Let's put on something comfortable. The boys are going to yakking for hours." She walked over to what appeared to be a large chestnut wardrobe, swug the door open, and started sorting through the kaleidoscope of colorful outfits hung there. "Her Yoo Jin, this cobalt blue goes so well with your coloring, don't argue, Dear, and I'll take this green shift to go with my eyes, and Anne..." She paused and looked Anne up and down, critically. She held the outfit in her hand up to Anne, covering her street clothes. "No, you take the green shift and I'll wear the domino." Ruth took a black-and-white outfit for herself.
Yoo Jin had started slipping her gown off. Anne was a little uncomfortable with the nudity, mostly because it meant that she would be expected to change right there, and these two spectacularly beautiful girls would see her 40-year-old body. She turned away from them and started unbuttoning her blouse.
When Anne reached behind herself to unfasten her bra, she felt one of the girl's hands had already started the job. Anne felt herself blush, murmured, "Thank you," and slipped the green shift over her head. It was scandalously short. She unzipped her skirt and pushed it down. She wanted to leave her panties in place, but she had been wearing them for three days, rinsing them out every night. They were a scandal. These girls might be comfortable with exposing what their Mamas gave them, but Anna felt that some thing were better reserved for the One Special Person in her life, Frank. But this was an emergency. Anne sighed and pulled them off. Though she felt more exposed, she also felt more comfortable, freer that she had.
The shift, what there was of it, was fabulous. Anne had seen concubines walking the halls of the Moon bases wearing ugly grey shifts. They were as short as this green number, but Ugh! Men and women both wore them. If a girl slave was a little long-bodied you often saw her trying to hold the hem down over her private parts.
Ruth pulled a shoebox-sized case from the bottom of the wardrobe and led Anne over to the bed. She sat next to Anne and opened the case.
"Oh, you have wonderful hands!" Ruth said, as she took out a tube of some kind of minty-scented cream and started massaging Anne's hands. Anne thought it felt heavenly. After a minute, Ruth lifted Anne's hands for a critical inspection. "What happen to your nails on these four fingers?" She held the offending digits up to Anne's face.
Anne sighed, "That was from the kidnapping. I tried to grab the door frame of the car and not be forced in. B-b-but I wasn't strong enough!" Tears started dripping off of Anne's cheeks.
"Oh, Honey!" Ruth cried and pulled Anne into a hug. Yoo Jin embraced Anne from behind. Both girls held her while she sobbed. Neither of them hurried her, or asked her why, or offered any advice. They just tenderly held her.
After a few minutes, Annes sobs slowed and stopped. Her breath slowed and returned to normal. Yoo Jin and Ruth felt her stir, so they let her go, but Ruth continued to hold her hands and looked into her red eyes. "You know, Anne, that those people can never get you again, right? You and Frank and Obie are going to be safe from them so far away that it's almost unthinkably far."
Anne sniffed and nodded. "I know. And I promise that I'm not a Weepy Wendy all the time, it's just that I haven't closed the door on that event."
Ruth smiled warmly. "Well, you don't have to fix everything tonight. Tonight you have to fix your nails!" She picked up a file and started working on Anne's hands. Anne sighed and leaned back. She felt Yoo Jin supporting her from behind. It was warm and good. She was surrounded by friends, friends that had proved their worth by what they had done in the face of bad men. Anne sighed again and closed her eyes.
After Ruth had finished smoothing Anne's fingernails, she slipped to the floor in front of Anne and started on her toes. She lifted Anne's foot and started rubbing that wonderful cream into it, when Anne remembered that she had removed her panties. Her most private parts were on display! Her eyes flew open and she looked down. Ruth, though was totally focused on her foot. Ruth ran her fingers in between each toe, flexing them in a way that sent pleasant shivers up Anne's leg and up her spine.
Ruth looked up. Her eyes frankly took in Anne's exposed sex, then looked up into Anne's eyes and smiled. "You have such pretty feet, Anne. I've got the perfect color for them!" She held up a small brush and displayed the colored tip. "It's so creamy!" Anne nodded, charmed by Ruth's enthusiasm. It felt like a slumber party here with these two. Ruth and Yoo Jin gossiped and joked about Steward and his concubines. They told about his tears for his lost wife (Poor Beth! Poor Richard!), his concern for his concubines, and his joy when Ruth and Yoo Jin became sponsors themselves.
They held Anne almost breathless when they told her about Richard's uneasiness in selecting a male concubine.
By the time they started talking about the special relationship between Yoo Jin and Ruth, Anne felt that she knew them well enough to ask the questions that were on her mind. "You mean," she asked Ruth, "you like girls better than boys?"
Ruth smiled. "I like boys much better than I like girls. Yoo Jin is the other way."
Yoo Jin leaned forward over Anne's shoulder. "I enjoy men, have no doubt. I am crazy in love with Richard, the big goof. And he needs both Ruth and me to keep him out of trouble. But there's something about the softness, the ... composed nature ... of women that lets me relax with them and be myself."
"But don't you worry that Richard will be put off by what you do to each other?"
Yoo Jin chuckled. "Richard gets almost uncontrollably horny when he sees us kiss. We almost always have sex as a threesome."
Ruth stood up and held out a hand to Yoo Jin. Yoo Jin stood and came into Ruth's arms. They settled their bodies into each others, rocking slightly while gazing into each other's eyes. When they kissed, Anne realized that she was turned on.
When the unhurried kiss ended, Ruth turned to Anne and asked, Ruth asked, "When you were a girl, didn't you have a special friend? A girlfriend that you shared secrets with?"
Anne nodded, her eyes looking back in remembrance. "I did. Her name was Sally Perkins. We met in third grade when her family moved to town. I haven't thought of Sally for years. We fell out of touch right after I met Frank and Richard. Sally and I were best friends, more like sisters. We wore each other's clothes. We were always in and out of each other's homes. We shared everything."
Ruth asked, "When you were just beginning to be interested in boys, did you and Sally ever kiss, just to find out what kissing was like?"
Anne blushed, and after some encouragement, she admitted that she did. Ruth sat down next to her on the bed and said, '"Show me how you kissed."
Anne took Ruth's shoulders, leaned forward and pecked her on the cheek. Ruth looked her in the eyes from so close their noses almost touched, so close the warmth of her breath brushed Anne's lips when she spoke. "That's how aunts and brothers kiss." Ruth said. "That's not how boyfriends and girlfriends kiss." Anne blushed. This time Anne awkwardly took Ruth in her arms. Anne's heart was beating so hard she was surprised that Ruth and Yoo Jin didn't comment on it. Anne leaned her head slightly to one side and kissed Ruth. She didn't hurry, but let the kiss pace itself. He head was swimming a bit when she sat back.
Ruth smiled. "Better. How did that make you feel?"
"Fluttery," Anne said.
Anne felt Yoo Jin move to sit on the bed on her other side. She felt her put her arms around her and put her chin on Anne's shoulder. Anne said, "It's funny, but I didn't get the creepy vibe from you girls like she thought that I would around ... you know, girls who like other girls. I was afraid that you'd feel like you were queer. But right now I feel like I did when Sally and me would have a sleep-over or a slumber party. Like we girls could let our hair down and talk about anything."
You Jin said, "That's how Ruth and I are. We're best girlfriends. We talk about men and clothes, and other girls, and when we kiss, it makes us feel ... fluttery. We just like fluttery"
"What happened between you and Sally?" Yoo Jin asked.
Anne felt the heat of a blush creep up her face. "You promise that this stays with us girls?" Anne asked. Ruth and Yoo Jin nodded, smiling. "Well, one night when Sally was sleeping over and we were sharing my bed, we started practice kissing each other like we had done dozens of times before. It was so sweet and magical. That night I was pretending that she was this male movie star that I had started to like a lot, and that made it even better. I imagined that it was his lips pressing hard on mine; that it was his tongue in my mouth; that it was his hands cupping my breasts, pulling my nipples." Anne stopped and when she started talking again her voice was small and hesitant. "That's when I realized that it was Sally fondling my breasts."
"I was so confused! My heart was pounding and my stomach was fluttery. My breasts were tingling and the tingling went right down to my, uh, girl parts. I realized that I was more aroused by Sally right there in my arms than the imaginary movie star." Anne gulped. "I pulled back and looked into Sally's eyes and called her 'darling.' I said, 'Please, darling, don't stop.'"
"Sally looked into my eyes and said, 'I won't.' She pulled up my nightie and started kissing my breasts. I was in heaven. Her hand slipped down to my girl parts and she stroked me. I could hardly breathe, I was so turned on."
"Then, as I was starting to swoon with joy, my bedroom door swung open. It was my mother who had heard us moaning and wondered if one of us was hurt. What she saw was me with my nightie rucked up to my armpits and Sally with her mouth locked onto my breast and her fingers deep in my girl parts. That was the end of the sleepovers."
Tears started to slip down Anne's cheeks. "We kept seeing each other at school. We would slip out of class and meet in quiet corners to snuggle and talk. We knew that both of out parents were adamant that we quit hanging out with each other."
Ruth leaned forward and right over Anne's shoulder and she and Yoo Jin kissed. Anne could see their jaws move and knew that their tongues were active in that kiss. Anne started to feel fluttery just watching them. And she felt a little lonely and jealous that she didn't have a special girlfriend like Sally any more.
When Ruth and Yoo Jin sat back, Ruth asked, "What happened to you and Sally?"
Anne's eyes again looked distant. "It was the summer before I entered the 10th grade. Sally and I attended church camp. It was the same camp where I met Frank and Richard. On the last night of the camp, one of the counselors talked at a firelight meeting about the sin of lust. As he finished, he told us that, if we were fighting and wanted to renounce the sin of lust in our lives, we should throw a pinecone into the campfire to signify that we were burning up that bad relationship. I felt sick that I had fallen into such a perverse sin, but I couldn't give up being girlfriends with Sally. Then, right next to me, Sally stood up, picked up a pinecone, walked over to the fire and threw it in. When she went to sit back down, she sat across the fire from me. I was so embarrassed. I wanted to die. I was sure that everybody knew that her moving away was a confession of who she had been sinning with. It was months before I found out that everybody thought that she was sinning with the boy she went to sit next to, because he threw a pinecone in also."
Ruth leaned forward, took Anne's face in her hands and gazed into Anne's eyes. "You poor thing! You must have felt so awful and alone!"
Tears started filling Anne's eyes. "Oh! Here I go again! I promised myself that one cry a night is enough!"
Ruth leaned forward and kissed Anne's tears as they started down her cheeks. "You aren't alone, Anne. Yoo Jin and I are here with you. We love you, both of us."
Anne was a little surprised by Ruth actions, but then she realized that Yoo Jin and Ruth were still teenagers. They were special girlfriends with each other, and now they were inviting Anne to join them. Anne felt a wave of acceptance and affection wash through her. The memory of that moment, at the campfire, started to lose it's sting.
Yoo Jin leaned over Anne's shoulder again and Ruth leaned forward, her cheek softly against Anne's cheek, and kissed Yoo Jin. Anne felt the wave of affection start to include a tingle of arousal caused by their tenderness and sweetness.