Squire’s Isle Created by Geonn Cannon

12 Days of Squire’s Isle Christmas: 6 Golden Rings

The halfway point!

Summary: Amy seeks a special gift for Christmas, and for her partner’s birthday.

 Despite the fact she’d arranged for Stephanie to open the bakery, Amy still woke in time to drive in and start the day. She kicked her blankets out of the way and looked at the clock. The first ferry didn’t leave for another fifty minutes, so she got out of bed and dragged her mostly-unconscious self into the bathroom. She was still getting used to the big house, where the private bedroom seemed to have more space than she’d had in her entire apartment. She showered without worrying the water in the pipes would wake anyone else, taking her time since they had plenty of hot water to go around. It was a blissful, contented feeling made even better by the fact she shared it with two women she never could have imagined for herself.

            She toweled off and dressed for her excursion to the mainland. Kate’s birthday was in two days, and she hadn’t gotten her anything. She also hadn’t done any of her Christmas shopping. Nicole was taking the day off from the paper to sit in at Coffee Table Books in case anything came up, and Amy was going to Seattle to shop. She wasn’t looking forward to the trip, but it had gotten so late that she couldn’t put it off any longer.

When she was a teenager the boundaries of the island felt like the walls of a cage. As traumatizing as her departure had been, the act of leaving was like breaking out. Then she was reluctantly drawn back and discovered her life was there waiting for her. She found meaning in a shop she’d always refused to consider her legacy… the bookshop her father started was transformed into a bakery with a treasure trove of books that she gave away for free with purchase. She found love, twice. And now she had a home of her own. Why would she ever want to leave?

She left her room and walked down the hall, pausing in front of the open door to Kate’s room. The spooning shapes under the blankets revealed Kate and Nicole had spent the night together. Amy leaned against the doorframe and smiled at the back of their heads. She recalled one of her first true girlfriends after she came back to the island, an older woman named Lisa. They had been sitting on a bench when someone jogged past, and Lisa casually lifted her head to watch the jogger pass before returning to her book.

It had been a simple glance, acknowledgement of a human being within her bubble, but Amy had completely flipped her lid. “You want her, you can go get her.” She’d stormed off, Lisa had been obligated to chase her, and their beautiful day in the park had been ruined.

Now Amy looked at the women she loved and knew without a doubt they had made love without her, and the thought warmed her heart. Maybe it was a sign of being more mature, maybe it was a symptom of their unusual courtship, but she was glad they had each other. She’d wanted to get up early and she hadn’t exactly been in the mood for sex the night before. She stepped into the room and bent down to kiss Kate’s hair, stroking Nicole’s arm since she couldn’t get to her without disturbing Kate’s sleep. She whispered goodbye to them and tiptoed out of the room.

Kate and Nicole had cars, so Amy had never seen the need to have one of her own. Since moving back to the island she had lived literally ten feet away from where she worked, downtown was right outside her door, and everything else was easy walking distance. Today, however, she required wheels. She took Kate’s keys off the back of the door and slipped outside as quietly as possible.

She stopped by Coffee Table Books just to make sure everything was running smoothly, getting a cup of coffee before she was shooed out the door by Stephanie. The girl was a godsend, a truly necessary component to the store’s success. Amy had already promoted her as high as she could go before officially taking over, and she’d made it clear that if Stephanie ever wanted to leave for another higher-paying job she had a glowing recommendation waiting for her.

Stephanie said, “I’m very happy right here, Ms. Wellis. Thank you, though.”

Amy replied, “In that case, it’s good to know I have a successor in place when I decide to retire.”

Not that she planned to retire any time soon. Her life was absolutely perfect, a thought she regretted having just before she drove onto a boat. If my life was a movie, this is where I’d disappear without a trace.

She boarded the ferry and napped in her car, bundled up with her head against the window, until they reached their destination without incident.

Her quest to find Kate’s present was no small undertaking. She had no idea what she was going to buy, and she was determined not to blend her birthday with her Christmas. She deserved two presents just like everyone else. She considered her options as she drove off the ferry and started south to the city. She needed a new jacket, but she would want to pick that out herself. She looked around the car as if it would provide clues to the perfect gift. It was like a game, spot what was missing and fill that space with a necessary thing.

Notebooks. Journals. Kate loved writing, the tactile sensation of pen on paper. But could she find something nice enough to constitute a gift. Something leather-bound, maybe.

Leather. There was an idea. They’d flirted with the idea of something leather-ish for bedtime, whether it be handcuffs or straps. But once again, it was something they would have to do as a whole. She couldn’t arbitrarily choose items and then hope they filled Kate and Nicole’s needs. Unless she went the Domme route. “You’ll wear this and like it. On your knees.”

No. Fun to think about, sure, but no.

She grew more frustrated as the sky brightened and traffic picked up. It shouldn’t be such an ordeal to choose a gift for the woman she loved more than anything. Then again, maybe that was the problem. If she loved Kate less, she would be happy giving her any old notebook and pen set. It was the love that made her stress over getting it just right. She decided to banish thoughts of anything being perfect and just let her eyes guide her once she got into the mall. If there was a gift waiting to be found, she would know it when she saw it.

The mall was fairly empty on Friday morning, the main reason she’d chosen that day for her journey. She put her purse over her head, letting the strap cross her chest, and strode through the automatic doors like a woman on a mission. She would not be overwhelmed, she would not be defeated. She would not leave the mall until she had Kate’s gift, and a Christmas gift for Nicole, tucked under her arm. She swore it.

An hour later she sat on one of the benches near the food court and stared at her phone. She had texted “HELP” to Nicole, who sent her back a rude emoticon.

“Help me or no sex for a month!!”

“I’ll just get laid by your partner.”

“I hate you.”

A winky-faced smile. Amy grunted and put the phone back in her pocket, looking around at the stores within eye range. Clothes. Kate wore clothes, pretty much every day. But she loved old clothes, clothes she’d had for years. She liked swimming in sweaters that were older than some high school kids. A vintage outfit from a thrift shop? ‘Thrift Shop’! She could buy her that Macklemore CD. No, she didn’t like that kind of music. She turned and looked at the other shops. Bath and beauty supplies… Kate had a true tub now, and she loved her baths. Bubble bath, body wash, candles… scented candles!

Amy was actually excited for the first time since entering the mall. She stood up and walked toward the bath shop, but she slowed when she saw it was right next to a jewelry shop. Kate rarely wore necklaces or rings, but she did have a brooch she liked wearing for special occasions until the clasp broke. She hesitated on the threshold since she didn’t actually have it with her, but she could at least inquire about if they were capable of fixing it.

A saleswoman smiled as Amy approached the glass counter. “Hi. How can I help you?”

“Do you do repairs? My partner has a pin, but it broke…”

“It depends on the way it was made. We should be able to fix it without much trouble. Do you have it with you? We could work on it while you’re shopping.”

Amy shook her head. “No, I didn’t think about it until I was actually here. I may have to come back to do my Christmas shopping anyway.”

The clerk smiled. “Not having much luck?”

“Sadly, no.” She sighed and scanned the cases. Her eye caught something and she tilted her head to one side as she approached. “Is that… what exactly is this?”

“Ah. This is our ‘traditional shma-ditional’ display. Not the technical name, but it’s what we like to call it. The company’s founder married his partner of twenty-five years last December. He wanted to have at least one display that wasn’t ‘male-and-female’ couple rings. You mentioned you have a partner?”

Amy nodded. “Yeah. Kate. And we… we have a girlfriend.”

“Oh! Well, maybe you’d be interested in the trifecta.” She moved around to open the back of the anti-traditional display and withdrew a small platform. “Six rings, two for each person in your relationship. Each pair is specially-priced so you’re just paying for one instead of buying six individual rings.” She put one ring on the middle finger of her right hand, then put a second ring on the third finger. She held her hand out so Amy could examine it. “They don’t get in the way and they don’t impede your movement, but from a distance they provide an unbroken golden loop around these two fingers.”

Amy leaned closer. The rings were gold, threaded with a bit of silver. “Are they engagement rings or wedding rings?”

“Neither. They only serve to show the bond between the three of you. You can get them engraved with your initials…”

Amy nodded. They had discussed the idea of marriage in an abstract way, but they’d all agreed it wasn’t something they could see working. Even before the law passed, before Nicole came along and made them three, Amy and Kate had decided they weren’t on a path toward a wedding. They thought it said more to stay together without the license, without the pomp and circumstance. When they told Nicole she said it was “flying without a parachute,” and she added it was only scary if they didn’t trust the pilot.

But now they owned a home together. It wasn’t the same as a marriage license, but it was still a commitment. The rings would serve as reminders to the three of them, a way of acknowledging what they had. She picked up one of the rings left on the display and imagined Kate and Nicole’s initials engraved on its curve. She smiled and met the salesgirl’s eye, realizing the girl already knew she’d made the sale.

Amy smiled and confirmed it for her. “I think this would be perfect.”

 

#

 

Kate was upstairs for nearly an hour before she came back. She was using both hands to rub her hair dry with a towel and Amy saw flashes of her pajama bottoms under the robe as she came downstairs. Amy had a joint pinned between two fingers, and she held it up to Kate as she came out to join them on the deck. She took a drag and let the smoke filter out through pursed lips as she handed it to Nicole. She sat down on the chaise and smoothed her robe across her thighs.

“Well?” Amy asked. “What’s the verdict? Did I do okay?”

“You did very okay. That was the most decadent bath ever.” She grinned and then poked Nicole with her toes. “I kept expecting party crashers, though.”

Amy smiled. “Sorry. Next time, baby.”

Kate winked and relaxed against the seat.

“Before you pass out, I wanted to… um. Well, the bath wasn’t your only present. I know how you feel about combined birthday and Christmas presents. But I wanted to go ahead and give this to you today since it’s partially Nicole’s as well. That way she doesn’t feel left out in the whole gift exchange.”

Nicole said, “Aw, how sweet. Gimme.”

Amy took the carefully-wrapped rings from her pocket and held one in each hand. “I have one for both of you. Now… when you open them, I don’t want you to think it’s anything traditional. It means what it means. We all feel the exact same way about the subject that you may think is being broached.” Kate and Nicole looked at each other, both utterly confused. Amy cleared her throat. “Anyway, uh. I just wanted you to have these.”

She held them out and her girlfriends unwrapped their gifts. She rubbed her hands together, balling them into fists as Kate got hers open and looked inside. She frowned, turned one of the rings so she could see the side, and let out a tiny gasp.

“Ames…”

Nicole looked at hers and took one out of the case. “Wow.”

“The lady said they weren’t engagement rings or wedding rings or anything of the sort. I’m not proposing anything beyond… this. What we’ve been doing now for over a year. I love you both so much.”

“What about you?”

Amy took out the third package. “I got a set for myself.”

Nicole took out her rings and looked at the names. She handed one to Kate, one to Amy, and said, “Put them on for me?” She then looked at her hands. “Which hand do they go on?”

“Right,” Amy said. “Left is traditional, and we’re anything but.”

Kate laughed. “I like that.”

Nicole held out her right hand. Amy put the ring with her name on Nicole’s middle finger, while Kate’s ring went next to it. Next Amy and Nicole put on Kate’s rings, and Kate repeated the process for them. When they were finished the joint had made its rounds until Amy had it again. She took a hit and held her hand up so the rings glinted in the light coming from inside.

“I would never have suggested something even this close to wedding rings with anyone else.”

Nicole slipped off her seat and kissed Amy’s lips. “And if it had come from anyone else, I wouldn’t have accepted.”

“Neither would I,” Kate said. She leaned in, kissed Nicole, and then kissed Amy.

Nicole slipped her hand down Kate’s back to her rear end, then looked at Amy. “That bath stuff you got… did you happen to get anything interactive?”

“I got a few things we could probably improvise with.”

Nicole slapped Kate’s ass. “Get back up there, Price. You’re going to get a second bath tonight.”

“Well… okay. But I was thinking since Ames gave us our presents early, you two might want to open yours early.” She toyed with the knot on her robe’s belt as she backed up into the house.

Amy and Nicole looked at each other. Amy placed the joint in the ashtray and rubbed her hands together. “Do you want top or bottom?”

“I’ll grab her feet, you get her hands.”

Kate shrieked and ran into the house, pursued by both her lovers.

 

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