Squire’s Isle Created by Geonn Cannon

12 Days of Squire’s Isle Christmas: 10 Bottles of Beer on the Wall

On the third day of Squire’s Isle Christmas…!

Summary: Tracy and Jessie have been dating long enough to take a big step in their relationship. One small step for two women…

(Tracy Finch and Jessie McCoy first appeared in my novella “When My Ship Comes Back Around“, available at AO3)

My girlfriend has been to outer space.

It reeks of the schoolyard taunt of “Oh yeah? Well my dad…” But it’s true. Her name is Tracy Finch. I remember seeing her on some TV interview back when she was either about to go up or had just come down. Most female astronauts just let their hair float free in the vacuum, but Tracy chose to shave her head. I was with someone else at the time so I had to keep the true depth of my appreciation quiet. But the truth was, she was damned sexy. Her dome shone in the lights, and there were photos of her adrift in the space station in her polo shirt and shorts. At the time it was just an intriguing fantasy, like ogling someone in a movie. She was a celebrity. She existed in another realm away from me.

Then one night she showed up drunk and belligerent in my restaurant. I didn’t recognize her since it was so far removed from her appearance on TV. She had grown her hair out, and I’d long forgotten all about the bald astronaut lady. The memories came flooding back when she reminded me, though. I helped her get help, took her to the island’s Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, hooked her up with a sponsor, and then she did something I still don’t quite understand.

She asked me out.

On a date.

I’ve been told I’m attractive, and when I smile I do admit to having dimples you wouldn’t believe. But I have a divot in my chin, my eyes are too wide, and I’m far too tall and gangly to be considered anything like a supermodel. I’d only had three real relationships, and only one of those was with another woman. But how could I say no? Even if things were a little weird, since we were in AA together, but I wasn’t her sponsor. I convinced myself it was fine and we started seeing each other. She was the one who brought up sex, and she relieved me by saying she wanted to wait.

“I just want to be sure it’s right. I’m going through this rehab stuff, and I don’t want to fall into something as big as a physical relationship just because my head is all screwed up.”

I told her I understood, and we waited. We waited nine months.

We were in the bar of my restaurant, and she was helping me clean up by sweeping the front foyer. I was exhausted, terse, grumpy, all the things that would have made me even more unattractive to a potential suitor. We’d stopped talked after the third time I snapped at her for a minor infraction, and I was surfing the crest between wanting to apologize and knowing I was still in a foul mood. I wanted to tell her she could go home but I didn’t know how to say it without sounding dismissive. I was glad she was there, but I didn’t want to torture her with my bad mood.

“It would be nice, huh?”

I looked back to see her standing at the bar, staring at the bottles on the shelf. We were both recovering alcoholics, and she’d often pointed out the irony that I surrounded myself with the enemy.

“Want one? It’ll only cost you a chip. It’s only nine little months, right?”

“Take it easy,” Tracy said.

I focused on cleaning. She came around the bar and put her arms around my waist. I grunted and twisted away. “Will you let me go? Please?”

“No.”

I turned to push her off of me, but that turned her assault into a real hug. I put my arms around her almost out of instinct, then buried my face against the curve of her neck. She was six inches shorter than me so the embrace should have been awkward, but we’d figured out a good balance. I held tight and felt the frustration seeping out of me as she squeezed me. I took a deep breath and closed my eyes.

“Sorry.”

“Don’t be. You okay?”

I nodded and kept my eyes closed. Stupid tears trying to fall, but I felt like I could trap them behind my lashes.

“Bad day?”

“Just long. Long day.” I leaned back and kissed the tip of her nose. “I shouldn’t take it out on you. And it doesn’t help that you were right.” I nodded at the liquor. “This is one of the days I would have opened one of those and emptied it while I closed up.”

“Me too.”

I frowned. “Did you have a bad day in class?”

“No. But I’m awake and I have money in my pocket. That was the formula, back in the day.” She smiled and I kissed her. She kissed me back, and soon my hands were roaming over her back. I hooked my fingers in her belt loops and pulled her closer, and she parted her lips with a moan to let my tongue inside. We’d done this before, we’d even slept together without going further. She lived on a boat and I’d quickly learned to love being lulled to sleep by the waves. But she wasn’t ready to progress and I was capable of patience. But damn, if she made love half as well as she kissed…

She pecked my bottom lip when she pulled back and left me gasping. “Hum,” I said, eyes half-lidded. “That was better than anything I have in a bottle.”

Tracy examined my face for a long time before she spoke. “I think I’m ready to hand in my chip.”

My expression fell. “Oh.” I couldn’t fight her. Sobriety was a decision she had to make on her own, and my ranting and disappointment couldn’t be used as weapons to keep her on the wagon. I released my grip on her. “Could you wait until I’m gone, then? I really don’t feel like watching you get drunk.”

She tightened her grip on me and kept me from getting away. “Not that chip. There’s something else I’ve been abstaining from. My routine used to be get drunk, get laid, and then I would regret both in the morning. Sex was just something I did, not anything meaningful. I had to get out of the pattern to remember that it could be precious. I think it’s been long enough. I don’t want to fuck you, Jessie, but I want to make love to you more than anything. More than I want one of those bottles, more than I wanted to go to space.”

“Wow. That’s a lot to live up to.”

“You don’t have to live up to anything. You’ve already done all the work.”

I smiled as she leaned into me for another kiss. I let her lips meet mine and massaged the small of her back through her shirt. I moaned when I broke the kiss. “Who knew you were such a romantic?”

“How long will it take you to finish up here?”

I looked around. “I think I’m pretty much done. Why? What did you have in mind?”

“I want to go to your place.”

“Oh?”

“Mm. Yes.”

I smiled, glad the overhead lights were off. I was blushing. Blushing, goddamn it, at the thought of going home with a woman. I’ve had my share of lovers, male and female, and I’ve done this routine a lot more often than I’m willing to admit. But the build-up made this different. I wet my lips.

“Well, you think you can wait about fifteen minutes while I get this place set?”

“I’ve waited nine months. A half hour won’t kill me.” She kissed the corners of my mouth and then whispered, “But maybe you can cut a few corners.”

I laughed and kissed her back before letting her go. She went around the bar and turned on her phone to distract herself as I went back to my tasks. I did cut a few corners, I admit, but the place would pass an inspection. The entire time I was thinking about the fact we were finally going to take the next step. I’d never gone nine months in a relationship without going to bed. I’d had entire relationships last less than that. More importantly I was thinking about the underwear I had on. Tomorrow was laundry day, but I had enough nice underwear that I hadn’t resorted to anything overly embarrassing. But Tracy was going to see it. Tracy…

I’ve never felt for anyone else what I felt for Tracy Finch. She came into my life like a goblin, a mess of a human being who was pounding on my jukebox. Considering how much it spent to get the thing brought over from the mainland, I was not pleased with the idea of someone trying to assault it. So I stormed out with the intention of giving the bitch a piece of my mind, and then…

And then…

I was a bad drunk. My few sober moments were spent terrified of what I might do in one of my blackouts, but the terror was abolished by a good dose of something alcoholic. It was a vicious cycle that I was more than happy to keep following into the ground. I stepped out of the restaurant and saw a wretched beast curled up on the sidewalk, head down between her knees, and for a second I thought it was a ghost from the past. My anger faded and I took her home. She came back to accept my offer of help and then we were off and running.

We rarely went to meetings. The idea was to get support, and we offered that to each other. From the beginning we had a rule of total honesty. If we took a drink, if we were tempted to take a drink, we confessed. I told her stories I hadn’t told my closest friends, things I was deeply ashamed of, and she did the same with me. I don’t know if our arrangement was kosher according to AA rules, but we each had our sponsors. We weren’t relying on each other a hundred percent. But our ‘higher power’ was each other, and it was working.

I looked over at her, still pecking away on her phone. “What are you doing?”

She shook her head. “No idea. I think I’ve accidentally deleted half the songs on this thing. Are you almost ready?”

I smiled and nodded. As I started turning off the lights, something occurred to me. I looked back at her with a half smile and shook my head.

“I was pissed off.”

“When?”

“Just now. Just… five minutes ago when you came behind the bar. I was tired and grumpy.” I turned off the lights behind the bar and came around the end to join her. “You fixed me.”

Tracy kissed my cheek. “Happy to do it.”

I locked up and looped my arm around hers. She’d already loaded her bicycle onto the rack on top of my car. I usually drove her to the harbor and we sat in the parking lot to talk and watch the boats until we were ready to call it a night. Tonight, though, I toyed with the keys and looked at her.

“My place, huh?”

“Yeah. Is that okay?”

I shrugged. “I suppose we could christen your boat another day…”

She chuckled and slipped away from me so we could get in the car. All of the businesses along the main drag were decked out in multi-colored lights, and several of the trees were tangled up in their own festive gear. Christmas was less than two weeks away and I smiled as I drove us past the decorations. “You haven’t been over since I put up the tree and everything.”

“Oh, you get all decked out? I should do something on my boat. Lights or… or something.”

I glanced at her, then reached over to take her hand. “Hey. You all right?”

“I’m fine. I’m just nervous.” She brought my hand up and kissed the knuckles. “I’ve been looking forward to this for a while.”

“Me too.”

I lived far enough inland that the harbor was blocked from view. On the drive Tracy craned her neck to look at the sky. It was a habit she had, a sort of tic that caused her to look skyward as if checking to make sure everything was where it was supposed to be. Tonight, however, the sky was overcast and her beloved stars were hidden from view. She didn’t seem to care; she just settled back against her seat, glanced at me, and watched out the window as I drove home. I parked behind the house and looked over the top of the car at Tracy.

“Listen, we’re going in through the kitchen, but don’t go into the living room until I give you the all-clear, okay?”

“Uh-oh. What are you hiding?”

“Your Christmas present.”

Tracy said, “Oh, in that case I’ll behave.”

I led her inside and hurried through the swinging door to the living room. The birdhouse on the coffee table was nearly done, lacking only a final coat of paint. Tracy was a professor of Earth Sciences, a title I found nearly as impressive as astronaut, and she had mentioned on several occasions that she wished there were more birds outside her classroom window. Hopefully the little condo I was building for them would give the feathered friends incentive to drop by more often. I picked it up and carefully transferred it to the bookshelf where I protected it from view with the help of Stephen King and a dictionary.

“All clear,” I called.

Tracy came into the living room and I moved to meet her halfway. We kissed in the dark, and I shuddered when her fingers grazed my neck beneath my hair. I pushed up her shirt and grazed my fingers along the soft skin above her pants. She closed her teeth on my bottom lip and pulled. I smiled and kissed the corners of her mouth, thinking about the nights she’d apologized for not coming home with me, all the times we’d fallen asleep in the same bed to muttered promises of “one day…”

“Hey. If you want to stop…”

“Why would I want to stop?”

“I mean if we get in there and it’s too much. If you can’t deal with it right now. I want you to know that it’s okay. If you want to pull the reins at any point because it’s still hard for you.”

Tracy smiled. “Stopping is hard. Every time I had to say not yet, that was hard. This is easy.” Her hand flattened on the back of my head and pulled me to her again. I used my toes to push off my shoes, slightly lessening the difference in our heights as I reached out to find her hand. We linked fingers and I broke the kiss so I could lead her to the bedroom, glad I’d already gotten the escape clause out of the way. I didn’t know if I would be strong enough to offer her the chance once we got to the bedroom.

For the next few minutes, I wasn’t sure of the order in which things occurred. We both unbuttoned my shirt but left it hanging open as Tracy slipped out of her pants. We fell onto the bed… no, Tracy was in her underwear when that happened. So we must have taken the time to take off her jacket and shirt. We wrestled in an attempt to get our clothes off without bending down, all so we didn’t have to stop kissing for longer than a few seconds.

When I finally kicked my pants off the edge of the bed, I glanced down and saw I was wearing typical white panties and a matching bra. Not exactly what I would have chosen, but at least I didn’t have to worry about her laughing at me. Of course neither of us was in much of a laughing mood. She began kissing my neck and I pressed the back of my head into the mattress, guiding her lower until her tongue brushed over my collar bone. She budged my bra strap off my shoulder using her nose and then reached underneath me to undo the clasp.

She sat up and I pressed down against the mattress, and she looked at me before placing a reverent kiss on the curve of my breast. I closed my eyes as she took the nipple in her mouth and cupped the other breast with her hand. I bent my knee, inadvertently pushing my leg between hers. She rearranged herself and settled against my thigh. She dragged her lip over my breast and kissed my neck.

“I don’t know if I’m going to last very long.”

“Then we’ll do an encore.” I put my hands on her, guiding her hips, and she moaned as she began to ride my leg. I curled my toes, my heel digging into my mattress, and I whispered her name as she tensed around me like a boa constrictor. Her hand became tangled in my curls and, when she moved to hold my breast, she pulled my ponytail. I hissed and she moved to free herself, but I told her to leave it. She bit my neck gently, then harder as she started to come, and I held her until she relaxed and laved the spot where she’d bitten with her tongue.

“I’m sorry,” she whispered.

“Don’t be.”

“About the bite. And the hair…”

I rolled her over and pinned her to the bed. “You can pull my hair. And bite.” I smiled as I kissed her, settling my weight between her legs. I watched her eyes roll back and her lips puffing out with each breath as I thrust forward, pulling her to meet me. Her face was red, and blotches of pink were spreading across her upper chest and throat. She came again, grimacing and pressing her palms against my shoulders with her fingers locked so she wouldn’t scratch me. I watched her climax for the second time and kissed her lips, swallowing her moans as she grabbed a handful of my hair and twisted.

I grunted and broke the kiss, lifting up to look into her eyes. She let go of my hair and slipped two fingers into her mouth, wetting them with her tongue before she reached between us. I held her gaze as I rearranged myself. Her fingers found my underwear, pushed between it and my skin, and I finally closed my eyes when she touched me. I was trembling when she pressed her middle finger against me, stroking with her forefinger, and she began moving her hand slowly. It seemed as if she planned to torture me with slowness the way I’d tortured her with a second orgasm, and I smiled to think of all the ways we’d find to one up each other in this arena.

“Jessie.”

I opened my eyes and saw her staring at me, and I pressed down against her hand. She shifted and pushed her wrist, rubbing the heel of her hand against my clit. Despite her best efforts, I’d been anticipating this moment for the better part of a year. Finally having her fingers inside me, finally being with her like this, was all I needed. I sank down on top of her, kissed her, and found a rhythm that took me the rest of the way. Tracy must have been watching me because her timing was impeccable. Just as I was reaching the edge, she said, “I love you, Jessie.”

The words were echoing as I came, and when I was able I put my lips against her cheek. She turned her head and found them with hers. I was suddenly aware of being sweaty, stinking from a day of work combined with our exertions, but I doubted she cared. I held our kiss as I twisted my body away from hers, stretching out next to her as she opened her eyes and smiled.

“Worth waiting for?” I whispered.

She nodded and pushed a strand of hair aay from my cheek. She left her hand on my head, tracing the shape of my ear. “You’re the best thing that ever happened to me.”

“Well. Second best.” I ticked my thumb toward the ceiling to indicate her trip to the ISS.

“No,” she said. “Anyone can get to space with a little work. But you chose me. Thank you.”

I smiled and kissed her, sliding closed her to as she hooked one leg over my hip.

“I want to sleep.”

“Then sleep.” I kissed her eyelids and then the center of her forehead. She nestled against me and I held her, stroking the knobby bumps of her spine as I thought about what she’d said.

My girlfriend has been to outer space, but that’s nothing to her. She would rather be grounded, with me. And if even if I was given the chance to follow in her footsteps, I don’t think there’s anywhere on Earth I would rather be than in her arms.

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