Pinch Hitter

by Ann Douglas

Copyright© 2002 by Ann Douglas. All rights reserved.

First-Time Lesbian Sex Story: A lot of people would like to be someone else for a night. May Bujold was about to get her chance.

Caution: This First-Time Lesbian Sex Story contains strong sexual content, including Fa/Fa   Consensual   Lesbian   Fiction   First   Oral Sex   .

May Bujold softly sang an old tune as she watered the last of the numerous plants that filled the small three-room apartment. Not for the first time she thought, what the apartment lacked in size, it more than made up for in character. The plants, as well as the furnishings and other curios that filled it, reflected the tastes and interests of the occupant.

Above the last row of plants, hanging on the wall, was a large photograph of a lovely ebony-skinned young woman. The picture was a nude portrait, done in such a way as to be called tasteful. May looked up at the likeness and, as she had done many times before, looked into the face she saw in the mirror.

The only thing was, while the face may have been her own, the woman in the portrait wasn't her. May couldn't imagine herself posing for such a photograph, no matter how artistically done. Much less hanging such a thing where any casual visitor could see it. No, she left such things to her more audacious sister.

June Bujold was May's twin sister. They had been born twenty-five years ago, fifteen minutes or a month apart, depending how you looked at it. May had been born shortly before midnight on the last day of the month she had been named after. June, her younger sister by just a quarter-hour, had arrived in the first minutes of the new month.

Once past the awkward years, the sisters grew up to be attractive young women. Both stood five foot seven and weighed within a few pounds of the other. The daughters of an Afro-American mother and a French-Canadian father, they inherited what was best in each of their parents. From their mother, who had been a hotel maid when she met her father, they had been gifted with beauty and charm. Their father, who had been a Chef at the same establishment, had given them an inborn talent in the culinary arts. After a lifetime of learning the trade at his side, both had become world class Chefs in their own right.

But that was where most of the similarities between May and June ended. Of the two, June had always been the more free spirited. May was usually content to live a quiet and relatively stable life, having taken over her father's old position when he retired two years before.

June on the other hand, preferred a much more unpredictable life, having had a dozen jobs all over the country in a third as many years. It was one of those jobs that had brought May to her sister's apartment to take care of the plants and such.

Two weeks before, June had called May late one night and told her she had been offered a position on a cruise ship run by Scarlett Tours. The Chef that held the position had been stricken with acute appendicitis and would be out for a few weeks. An old friend, whom May suspected was more than just a friend, worked for the Line and recommended June as a replacement. The only catch was that she had to be in Los Angeles the next day. So could May, she asked, take care of her apartment until she got back.

As she usually did, May said yes without hesitation. They might see many things differently, but one constant was the love they had for each other. So twice a week, May stopped over, watered the plants, collected the mail and basically made sure everything was okay.

May was putting the small plastic water can away under the kitchen sink when she heard the phone ring in the living room. On the fourth ring, the answering machine picked up the call. June usually left the volume all the way up so she could screen her calls, so May was able to hear the message.

"Hi June," a soft, feminine voice came out of the speaker, "it's Iris Banks. We met in Chicago last month at Paula Murray's Wedding. Well I'm in town and you said that if I ever found myself here that I should give you a call. I was wondering if maybe you'd like to get together for a drink and maybe continue that conversation we had at the wedding."

May listened with curiosity as Iris left the phone number of her hotel room, along with the repeated message that she hoped she would hear from June soon. It didn't take a lot of imagination for May to imagine the reason why.

Another thing that set the twins apart was that June had come out of the closet on her twenty-first birthday, declaring to anyone who cared to listen that she was a lesbian. May had known her sister was bisexual when they were in college, so she wasn't greatly surprised when June announced that she no longer had any interest in playing both sides of the field.

May, on the other hand, led a rather ordinary sex life. Ordinary being a description that could be replaced in her case with the word, boring. She had dated the same man for the last year of her college life, marrying him a year after graduation. Prior to saying "I do" to Darryl Barnes, May had only been to bed with two other men in her life. Their marriage lasted, however, less time than their courtship.

Single again for the last two years, May had few relationships that went anywhere than an occasional bed partner. Most men she met seemed to find her too independent to their tastes. The latest example of which had ended two weeks before.

"I bet Iris doesn't have a problem with June being too independent," May said to herself as she picked up her heavy coat and made ready to venture out into the cold winter's day.

On reflection, May thought she would be a liar is she said she never wondered what it was like when her sister went out with other women. Not what they did in bed together, May had a pretty good notion of that after having twice walked in on June when she was entertaining a date in their shared collage dorm. No, she was curious about the general interaction between them.

A few times over the years, May had run into female friends of June who mistook her for her sister. Of course she explained their error as diplomatically as she could, but at the same time, she felt a certain excitement meeting those women.

The craziest thought then flashed through May's mind. One that normally she would've discarded as soon as it came to her. It surprised her immensely that she didn't.

There hadn't been a set of twins in history, who hadn't at one time or another, masqueraded as their sibling. If only to the point of wanting to confuse someone who really couldn't tell them apart.

Growing up, June and May used to do it all the time, even splitting up classes in high school so that one could cover for the other in a subject they did poorly in. The school had been very understanding in making sure they didn't take their classes together so that each could develop their own identity. By the time they were seniors, they had each other's moves down so well that they could fool almost anyone - at least in a controlled environment like the classroom.

"This is crazy," May said to herself, still considering the idea. "But then again, what harm could just having a drink do?" she answered herself as she tried to play devil's advocate.

And of course a drink would be all there was to it. She could meet Iris, have a drink or two, and maybe a chance to understand some things about her sister that she had long wondered about but never had the nerve to ask. It would be easy to say she had an early appointment and cut the night short. Since Iris didn't live in the city, the odds were really slim that June would actually ever run into her.

"Come on, girl," May said to herself as she stood in front of the still closed door, continuing to wrestle with the idea, "take a chance and have a little adventure in your life."

Back and forth she debated the idea for another few minutes. Then, as one side of herself seemed to gain the upper hand, she found herself dialing the number that had been left on the machine. Just as the other side of the argument reappeared in her thinking, it was put on hold as a voice filled the telephone receiver.

"Hello?" the soft voice said.

May froze, unable to utter a word.

"Hello?" the voice repeated. "Is there anyone there?"

May's every instinct was to simply hang up the phone, to pretend it was a wrong number. Then again, perhaps not every instinct because she suddenly heard a voice that sounded so much like her own replying to the question.

"June?" the voice on the phone asked, recognizing the voice as well.

"Err, yes," May said.

"Oh it's so good to hear from you," Iris replied, excitement evident in her tone. "I was so afraid you'd be off on one of your jaunts and I'd miss you."

May said something, not even fully aware what words were coming out of her mouth. Iris didn't seem to mind and the conversation seemed to quickly take on a life of its own. In no time at all, the two women had agreed to meet for a drink at the bar at Iris's hotel.

For a second, May had a sudden fear that Iris might be staying at a hotel where she was known, having made a good number of professional contacts over the years. Then, as Iris said she was staying at the Grand Astoria, May let out the breath she had been holding. An old hotel over on the West Side, the Astoria had recently undergone a total renovation and was under new management. It would only be much later that May would realize that no matter where they met, she didn't have to worry. After all, it wasn't May who was going to have a drink, it was June.

"I'll see you at seven then," Iris said as she brought the brief conversation to a close when May agreed.

May stared at the phone for a long minute after she had hung it up, unable to believe she had actually done it. She had actually made a date to have drinks with a woman.

Then it hit her, the flaw in her plan. She had no idea what Iris looked like. How was she going to recognize her?

The realization caused a few seconds of panic until she realized that it wasn't a problem at all. She might not know what the woman from Chicago looked like but Iris certainly knew what she looked like. Or at least what June looked like. All she had to do was get to the bar first and let Iris come to her.

"This isn't going to be hard at all," May told herself with confidence. A small part of her wondered if that was actually going to be true.

With a few hours to go before she had to meet Iris, May decided to take a shower and freshen up. Normally she preferred to take long, leisurely baths, but June's small bathroom only had a shower stall. Still, the water was comfortably warm and it felt good as it splashed against her skin.

May's mind began to wander, as it usually did when she was in the bath or shower, and as she covered her soft skin with soapy bubbles, she realized how excited she was about her planned adventure. There was such a forbidden nature to it, one she hadn't felt in a very long time.

Running her hands down her now soap covered body, coming to a stop between her legs, May discovered she was aroused. Normally, that rarely happened in the middle of the day, at least if she was alone.

"Maybe this is a new me." she laughed to herself.

Taking advantage of her titillation, May stroked her breasts, bringing her pert nipples to a pleasing hardness. Her touch felt so good. Wet hands glided down across her slim stomach, finding their way to the light brown bush below. She continued down between her legs and then around to the cheeks of her ass, leaving a soapy trail of bubbles in her wake.

May let out a soft sigh as her fingers rubbed against her mound. Running her other hand across her firm breasts once again, she gave them a playful squeeze.

With a hand that had plenty of practice since her teen years, May parted her vaginal lips, quickly finding the prize within. Closing her eyes, she leaned back against the wall of the shower and began to rub herself.

"Oh yes." she purred as a familiar tingle spread out from her clit. "That feels quite nice."

She slid a finger up within herself, followed by a second and a third. If she had been home, she might have substituted one of the rubber toys she kept hidden in a locked drawer in her bedroom for her fingers, but she had no way of knowing if her sister kept such things as well. It was a subject, among so many others, she had never had the courage to discuss with her twin.

It didn't take long until she was furiously pumping her fingers in and out, stoking the tiny flame between her legs into a roaring fire.

The warm water had turned to hot, filling the bathroom with steam. The heat of which paled to that radiating across her quaking body as her fingers caressed her love canal in an orgasmic frenzy.

With water running down her face, May's lips let go a quiet sigh. She felt her legs and arms go weak as repeated waves of delight rippled up and down her naked form.

Long silent moments, broken only by the splatter of the shower drops, passed as the dark haired girl rested against the now warm tile. The water washing away the traces of her climax.

"Oh that felt good." May said as she filled her hands with water and splashed it across her face.

Stepping out of the shower, May took one of the large towels off the rack and began to dry herself. As she did, she noticed a long full length mirror that June had recently hung from the back of the bathroom door. It was a cheap thing really, thin glass with a plastic frame. Still, it was enough to get the job done. Dropping the now wet towel in the plastic hamper, May stepped in front of the mirror and took stock of herself. She quickly found herself comparing the reflection to the one that would be there if June had been standing in her place.

Both sisters were the same height, or at least close enough to not to make a difference. May had a few pounds on June, but she thought it only added to her figure, especially around her bust. Neither sister was overly endowed, but their medium sized breasts had always been in proportion to the rest of their bodies. Their shared skin was a light, coffee colored brown, with the exceptions of their lips and the small areola that capped each mound, which were of a much darker shade. Both also had small eraser shaped nipples that stood hard and erect when they were excited.

Her gaze drifted downward to the triangular patch of hair between her legs. The last time the two sisters had gone to the gym together, May had been surprised to see in the shower that June had shaved herself bare. May was more comfortable with just keeping her pubic hair neatly trimmed.

Also on the subject of hair, May wore hers much shorter than June, preferring to keep it at a length just below her shoulders. June liked to keep it long enough to be able to work it into elaborate hairstyles when she went out. The difference would've only been a problem if the reverse had been true. A final small contrast was that although both sisters were nearsighted, May opted for the thin, black metal-framed glasses she wore instead of the contacts June enjoyed.

Picking up a clean towel and wrapping it around herself, May moved from the bathroom to the bedroom. There she opened the built in closet that ran the length of the room. If there was one thing that June had a passion for, it was clothes. The wardrobe in front of May was twice that of the one back in her own apartment.

Quickly passing over some of June's more revealing ensembles, May laid out three outfits that she thought appropriate to the occasion. Then she checked the equally long rack of shoes and accessories that lined the bottom of the closet for what would match the outfits. It would hardly do for her to show up at the Grand Astoria in the sneakers and jeans that she'd put on this morning.

Narrowing the three outfits down to two, May finally decided on the one that fit best. It was a two-piece yellow outfit with black trim. The neckline was a little more daring that May normally wore, but she liked the color because of the way it contrasted against her skin. She had three outfits in her own closet the same hue.

June's collection of undergarments was also much more daring than most of the ones May owned, but, since only she knew what was going under the dress they didn't bother her as much. She simply selected what looked the most comfortable and put them on. When she looked at herself in the black lace bra and panties in the dresser mirror, she had to admit that she looked pretty sexy in them. After all, how could she not since June obviously looked sexy in them as well. The older sister decided she should get a pair like this, if only to wear when she planned to have someone see them.

Finally, fully dressed and satisfied with the final product as she turned back and forth in front of the mirror, May headed for the front door, stopping only long enough to take one of June's coats from the hall closet since May's winter jacket was never going to do.

As she strode down the four flights of stairs from June's apartment, May felt another rush of excitement. She had entered the building as May, but she was leaving it as June.

The taxi ride over to the West Side and the Grand Astoria took longer than May had expected. Still, even the delay had done little to damper her enthusiasm. If anything, she felt even more exhilarated. The clock on the wall when she strode into the foyer of the newly refurbished hotel stood at six forty-five. As she crossed the lobby to the lounge, she could feel men turning their heads in her direction. It wasn't an occurrence that never happened when she was May, but she just seemed more aware of it in playing June.

The hour was still early and the lounge was only moderately crowded, which suited her fine. Moving to the bar, she took a seat on one of the empty stools in the middle and ordered a white wine.

Sipping her drink, May sat with her back to the bar and looked out into the room. After all, the point was for her to be seen and recognized. While she waited, she reviewed in her mind the idea she had come up with on the ride over here to cover any lapses in her memory. Or more specifically, June's memory.

Five minutes later, a tall blond walked into the lounge and caught May's attention. Wearing a red dress that almost looked as if it had been spray painted on, she was obviously searching for someone in the crowd. A search that suddenly stopped as a smile lit up her face. At the moment it did, she was looking right where May was sitting.

May's observation seemed to be confirmed as the blond began to walk toward her, the smile growing brighter with recognition as she did. May tried to match that smile, replacing the look of surprise that had been on her face a moment before.

It hadn't occurred to her that Iris might not be black. In hindsight, May told herself, she shouldn't have been surprised. One of the girls she had walked in on with June back in school had been another large breasted blond, Margo Owen, who lived just down the hall from them. At the time, May remembered being more surprised at her sister's lack of taste in lovers than in finding her buried between the girl's legs. Margo was known to have slept her way to her grade point average, sharing the effort with both students and faculty.

As the girl in the bar drew closer, May had a troubling thought. What if the girl tried to kiss her hello? Not one of those friendly girlfriend type kisses on the cheek, but one of those sort of kisses a woman gave a man to let him know she was definitely interested. Maybe, she told herself, she was just projecting the feelings she had about Margo onto this woman who reminded her of the former schoolmate, but May couldn't shake the impression that they had that in common. Margo was always giving those "I want to fuck you" kind of kisses when she met someone who attracted her.

May's impression proved right but to her relief, her other conclusion proved wrong. The blond with her boobs practically spilling out of her dress turned away from May at the last second and threw her arms around the tall, slightly gray haired older man who had been sitting on the barstool on May's left. May watched the two of them for a moment as the blond pressed her body against the man and slipped her tongue into his mouth as she kissed him. When they hurriedly left the bar a few seconds later, the man leaving a twenty-dollar bill on the counter in his haste, May was sure that the blonde's mouth would be somewhere else before long.

"Talk about dodging a bullet," she told herself as she took a larger sip of her wine and for the first time since she left her sister's apartment, considered if she really knew what she was doing.

"June?" A voice that matched the one she had heard on the telephone earlier asked from behind May.

May paused for a second and put down her drink on the bar counter, then turned in the direction of the voice. As she finished her turn, a new smile filled her face, this one filled with relief when she saw the woman now standing to her left.

"So this is Iris," she said silently to herself as she took in the woman before her.

Iris stood, May guessed, an inch or so taller than her, with short dark brown hair cut just above her neckline. Deep blue eyes and soft red lips drew attention to her face, the rich brown flesh of which was formed into the brightest of smiles. To merely say she was pretty would be the most flagrant of understatements.

Clad in a blue business suit and skirt, the white blouse beneath her jacket tightly outlined an impressive bustline. Again if May had to guess, she would say that the two of them were the same age, and in truth she wasn't far off. Iris was only fifteen months older.

"Hi there," May said, holding back on calling the woman by name on the slim chance that this was someone who knew June and spotted her at the bar. Her mistake with the blond had made her more cautious.

"I hope you haven't been waiting too long," Iris said as she slipped into the empty seat next to May. "My afternoon meeting ran a little late."

"No, actually you're right on time," May replied, relieved that Iris's comment washed away any doubt about her identity, "I was early anyway."

Iris's next comment was interrupted by the appearance of the bartender, who wore a name-tag giving his name as Brian, on the opposite side of the bar. She ordered a drink and as he went off to mix it, turned her attention back to May.

Suddenly, May found herself at a loss for words, unsure how to start the conversation. Luckily, Iris took the lead.

"I almost didn't recognize you," Iris said. "You weren't wearing glasses in Chicago."

"My contacts have been bothering me lately," May explained, "I haven't been wearing them."

"And your hair is different too," Iris added, "but I think that's an even better look on you. A lot easier to take care of I bet."

"It is," May replied, glad that the two discrepancies were tossed aside so easily, "thank you."

"By the way," Iris said as the bartender returned and she reached out for her drink, "I hope I didn't sound too needy on the phone this afternoon."

"Not at all," May said, wondering why she would say something like that.

"I mean I'm only in town until tomorrow and I don't know a soul here," Iris went on as she took a few sips of her drink, "and I really didn't want to spend the night cooped up in a hotel room watching HBO."

May didn't want to think about how many nights she'd spent just that way, substituting her apartment for a hotel room.

"So when I remembered you giving me your number and telling me to call if I was ever here, well I figured, well you know."

May smiled as if she did, but actually she really wasn't sure as to what Iris was alluding to. So she shifted to what she thought was a safer topic.

"So what brings you to town, if only for a day?" May asked.

"I had to make a presentation to a few new clients," May explained. "The East Coast really isn't my territory, but the account executive who covers it has a wife who went into labor yesterday morning. I was familiar with the material so rather than have him cancel the meetings and maybe lose the orders, I volunteered to take his place."

"That was very nice of you," May observed.

"Well he's covered for me a few times so I figured I owed him," Iris said as she put her now empty glass down on the bar.

"And you're in what business again?" May asked, wishing that Iris had been more clear on that.

"I'm in medical supplies." Iris said, her tone showing she was surprised that June hadn't remembered that. "We're one of the largest suppliers in the Midwest and we've begun to branch out on both coasts. I'm sure I told you that in Chicago."

"I guess I should apologize for that," May said, falling back on the cover story she had come up with to cover her lapses. "I'm afraid that when I go to a Wedding or some other big event, I sometimes get a little carried away and maybe drink a little too much. Some of the things we talked about wound up a little blurry the day after."

May hoped she sounded sufficiently apologetic and that Iris took what she said as face value. She didn't want to lay it on too thick and have her think she had some sort of drinking problem.

"Well I can't say I haven't been there myself one time or another," Iris said after considering it for a few long moments. "So I guess the best thing for the two of us to do is forget Chicago and start over right here. The only important aspect of the chat we had there was that you remembered who I was when I called this afternoon. I would've been crushed if you hadn't." she added with a playful smile.

"Great," May said after her own momentary hesitation as she placed her empty glass on the bar as well.

"So I understand you're a Chef," Iris said as if she was meeting someone for the first time. Which unknown to her was exactly what she was doing.

"This I can handle," May told herself as she told Iris a little about her professional life, tailoring some of the details to fit June instead of her.

"I don't know how you do a job like that and stay so slim," Iris laughed. "If I spent my day around all that great food I think I'd be three hundred pounds by now."

"Well sometimes you just have to resist temptation," May said.

"Hopefully, not all temptation," Iris laughed again.

Before May could ponder the meaning of that one, Brian placed two new drinks in front of them. May said she had this round and handed a ten-dollar bill to the bartender.

"These are already taken care of ladies," the tall redhead said with a grin as he declined the payment. "Compliments of the two gentlemen at the end of the bar."

May and Iris both turned to look down the length of the bar in the direction Brian had indicated. Two good looking, twenty-something black men smiled back at the two of them, lifting their own drinks to say hello.

Under different circumstances, May might've been happy to have accepted the drink, but this time she saw it as a problem. If she had been here with another man, there wouldn't be any question of anyone trying to pick her up. Two women drinking alone, however, made it look like they might be trying to meet someone.

"Please thank the gentlemen," Iris said, stepping in to take control of the situation, "but my friend and I are here together and are really not looking for, shall we say, male companionship. I'm sure you understand." she added as she took May's ten dollars from her hand and offered it again to the bartender, saying they'd hate to take the drinks under false pretenses.

"Sure, no problem," Brian said as he took the money and rang up the sale.

When he brought back their change, he spent what both women thought was an excessive amount of time staring at the two of them. The reaction of the two men who had tried to buy them drinks was pretty much the same as Brian returned their money and repeated what Iris had said to him.

"Care to bet all three of them already have the both of us naked and doing nasty things to each other in their minds," Iris whispered to May as she picked up and drank her drink.

May smiled at the remark, taking a large sip of her own drink as well. Until that moment, a nagging fear had been building in her mind that she had let her imagination run away on her. That maybe Iris was just someone June had befriended at the wedding in Chicago and was as straight as she was. After all, not every woman June knew was a lesbian.

Both women finished their drinks, glancing over their shoulders to see that they were still the objects of some attention. An attention that had now spread to a few other male patrons as well.

"Have you had dinner yet?" Iris asked, ignoring the men looking at them.

"Actually, no," May replied.

"One of the clients I met today told me about this really great Chinese restaurant that isn't suppose to be too far from here," Iris explained. "Care to give it a try?"

"I'd love to," May answered, "I love Chinese but it's one of the few things I really can't make for myself."

"Then let's get out of here," Iris said as they gathered up their things and headed for the door.

As they passed the two men who had been staring at them so rudely, Iris paused for a moment to say something to them.

"We're leaving now," she said in a low voice, "but I do hope that neither of you make a mess of yourselves thinking where we've gone or what we might be doing."

Then, before either man could react, Iris grabbed May by her arm and rushed her out of the bar. A few seconds later, they were out on the street flagging down a cab.

"That was wicked," May laughed in reference to Iris's comment to the men.

"But fun," Iris laughed back as a cab pulled over in response to their hail.

The night air had turned even colder and May was glad they were able to get a cab so quickly. As the cab driver navigated the crowded streets, May asked Iris if she was warm enough.

"Honey, this is nothing compared to Chicago winters," Iris assured her. "You were lucky that we were having a warm spell when you were there last month."

May nodded her head in response. Unlike the real June, she had never been to Chicago. Or many other places for that matter.

After a trip that took three times as long as they thought it would, the driver pulled up in front of Madame Cheng's. Iris paid the fare before May could object, saying that she was going to pay for dinner as well. After all, she assured May, that's what an expense account was for. Having it put that way, May couldn't really object.

The outside of the plain brick building that housed Madame Cheng's was unimpressive to say the least, causing both women to double check the address. Then they found the equally nondescript basement entrance, marked by a small sign in both English and Chinese.

"Well Colleen assured me that this was the best in the city," Iris said as they started down the stairs. "She said she and her lover come here all the time."

Iris's reference to her client's lover made May wonder if Colleen was a lesbian as well. After all, women usually didn't refer to boyfriends as lovers, at least not the women May usually encountered, her sister excluded of course.

"Maybe all of them belong to some kind of club," May thought humorously. "That's how they all know each other."

Reaching the bottom of the stairs and stepping inside, they found the inside of Madame Cheng's to be totally different from its façade. Decorated like Shanghai in the early twentieth century, it certainly had character.

"Table for two?" a quite attractive middle aged Chinese woman, dressed in traditional garb, asked as she stepped out from behind a small counter.

"Yes please," Iris said, looking out into the restaurant and realizing that it was filled.

"Did you have a reservation?" the Chinese woman asked as she looked down at the small clipboard in her hand.

"I'm afraid not," Iris admitted, "I'm only in the city for the day and this place was recommended to me by one of my clients."

"And her name would be?" the older woman asked.

"Not that I think it matters," Iris said feeling a little defensive all of a sudden, "but it's Colleen O'Conner."

A smile abruptly filled the woman's face as she called out to another woman, similarly attired, who was also behind the counter. Neither Iris or May had any idea what was being said but by the time the brief exchange in Chinese was finished, the woman with the clipboard had asked them to please follow her.

The woman led them to a row of booths in the extreme rear of the restaurant, far away from the noise of the kitchen. Despite there being a small line of people waiting for tables, half of these booths were empty.

"I guess your client must be a really good customer," May remarked as they sat down.

Placing menus on the table in front of them, the older Chinese woman, who they wondered might be the Madame Cheng for whom the restaurant had been named, wished them a good meal and left. As soon as she did, a much younger girl wearing the same traditional garb replaced her. She took their orders and left just as quickly, leaving them to their privacy.

The food, which came to the table surprisingly quick, turned out to be all that Colleen had said it would be. May couldn't remember the last time she had Chinese food this good outside of someone's home. Definitely not your normal restaurant fare. She made a mental note to come back on another day.

By the time they finished their meal, both women were greatly satisfied both with the food and the company they had shared. The streets were more deserted when they exited Madame Cheng's, so they had to walk a few blocks up to a main street to find a cab.

"I can't remember the last time I had so much fun," May said as they huddled together for warmth as they moved down the street.

"Really?" Iris asked as she held May's arm tightly, "I had gotten the impression back in Chicago that you were the kind of girl who had fun no matter where she was."

"Oh, well I guess sometimes I give that impression," May replied unconvincingly.

The younger woman was afraid Iris was going to pursue that train of thought, but again fate stepped in as the visitor from the windy city spotted something that caught her attention.

"Oh my God," Iris said as she stopped abruptly, pulling May back as well. "Look what's across the street."

May looked, but wasn't sure what she was looking at. There, a few storefronts down from the main thoroughfare, was what looked like a bar or club of some kind. In its own way, it looked as nondescript as the outside of Madame Cheng's had been. She didn't understand why Iris was so excited about it.

"So..." May said cautiously, hoping Iris would provide some much needed information.

"That's Scarlett's Rose," Iris said, giving May the impression that the name was supposed to mean something. "Or at least one of them. I think I read somewhere that you had three or four of them here in the city."

May looked at the large image of the rose on the glass window outside the club and the engraved lettering next to it. She remembered her sister saying that the cruise ship she was going to be working on was run by Scarlett's Tours and wondered if there was some kind of connection.

"I guess you want to go and take a look," May said.

"You can't tell me that you've lived here all your life and have never been to one?" Iris said in surprise.

"Oh, of course I've been to one," May lied. "It's just that I've never been to this one. I think that it's new."

"The two back in Chicago are always so hard to get into," Iris said, "unless you're a member. So far I haven't been able to find anyone who would sponsor me."

"Well I guess we could give it a try," May said, not really sure what sponsorship entitled.

Excitedly, Iris led May across the street, taking a place at the end of the short line of would be revelers. Standing at the front of the line stood a tall and muscular six foot two blond wearing a black leather jacket. The jacket was much too thin for the cold weather, but it was just another example of style winning out over practicality.

The line was moving rather quickly, giving both women hope that they would be able to soon get inside. That hope turned to disappointment as they reached the front of the line and they were told by the Gatekeeper that a private party was going on inside at the moment and non-members weren't being let in.

"Oh well, at least we tried," Iris said as the tall woman at the door gave them the bad news.

Just then, a black haired Hispanic woman came out from inside to bring the Gatekeeper a hot drink and saw the two women about to leave. Handing off the steaming mug, she stepped past the rope barrier to get a better look at one of them.

"June?" she called out.

May stopped and turned around, taking a few seconds to react to her sister's name.

"Hi," May said, for lack of anything else that came to mind.

"I thought it was you," the girl, whose name May later learned was Danielle, said. "What are you doing out here in the cold?"

"You know these two?" the Gatekeeper asked.

"June's a member," Danielle said. "I don't know her friend but if she's with June she's more than welcome."

"She didn't say she was a member," the Gatekeeper said in her defense.

Iris was thinking pretty much the same thing as she looked at May.

"I was just about to say something," May said to Danielle, and then to Iris she said, "I wanted to surprise you."

"Well consider me surprised," Iris said excitedly as she now pulled May towards the entrance, "let's go."

The obviously irritated Gatekeeper pulled back the heavy velvet rope that barred the way and admitted the two women into the club. Danielle followed them inside as well.

Moving into the club, the first thing they saw was that the inside of Scarlett's was at least four times what it appeared to be from the outside. The store front on both the right and left, as well as the three that faced the next block over had all been combined to form one gigantic center. All of the other entrances, however, were now only used as fire doors.

"There has to be over three hundred people here," Iris said excitedly.

"Yeah, it does tend to get a little crowded on Friday night," Danielle said from behind them. "Especially when there's a party."

"What's the occasion?" May asked curiously.

"I'm not sure," Danielle said, "for all I know it's for Gertrude Stein's birthday. We really don't need much of a reason to have a party."

"Hey Danielle, we need you over here!" came a voice from the far right of the room.

"I have to go," the olive-skinned woman said, "but I'll catch up to you later. As I remember, you still owe me a dance, June."

Both women watched the heavy breasted woman walk away, noting that her ass was almost as full as her bra. That was if she had been wearing one.

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