Squire’s Isle Created by Geonn Cannon

Easter Island

Summary: Easter is a time of life after a season of endings. While two couples on Squire’s Isle enjoy rebirths, one couple faces an end.

“Hm.”

Jaime Morgan read to the end of the sentence, marked her place with her fingertip, and looked at her girlfriend. Leah Kincaid was staring at her as if she presented some grand mystery. Jaime arched an eyebrow and brought her foot up. The soft wool sock rubbed over the part of Leah’s calf exposed by the leg of her pajamas. They were sitting in the living room of Jaime’s small apartment, the only light coming from the lamp on the table between them.

“Hm what?” Jaime finally asked.

“Tomorrow is Easter. We met on Easter.”

Jaime smiled. “We did indeed. I don’t expect a present.”

Leah chuckled. “Good. But we’ve known each other for a year, and you haven’t had a birthday. At least not one that I knew about. Did you just not tell me?”

“Ah. I did. But I don’t celebrate my birthdays.”

“Why not?”

Jaime shrugged. “No point to it, really.”

“Well, there’s a point now. You have a girlfriend who can treat you properly on your special day. Take you out to a nice dinner, give you something special to mark the occasion, do whatever you want after the lights go out.” She raised an eyebrow suggestively and Leah chuckled. “So? When is your birthday?”

Jaime considered not answering, or giving a fake answer, but Leah was only curious. “It’s the tenth of April.”

Leah’s eyes widened. “Tenth of… that’s in less than two weeks!”

“It doesn’t matter.”

“Of course it does. I have to–”

“You have to do nothing,” Jaime said softly. “Please, I truly don’t enjoy celebrating my birthday. Occasionally, yes, I would like a nice dinner. But I don’t like the people I love to feel obligated to buy me a trinket or get dressed up for a fancy meal just because I was born… two decades earlier.”

Leah snorted.

“Shut up. Everyone lies about their age.”

“Usually they don’t trim off a decade and a half.” She stood up and squirmed into the chair next to Jaime. Jaime scooted over to give her room, but they were still crammed between the arms of the chair. Jaime liked being crushed this way and pulled Leah closed to kiss her neck. “I like my older girlfriend. You’re so much calmer and together than the young fools I used to date.”

“Ugh. Now I’m ‘refined.’ You see why I dislike celebrating my birthday?”

Leah smiled. “I’m glad you told me. I won’t feel obliged to do anything special, honest. But I will honor you in little ways. Private ways that won’t infringe upon your person. You won’t even notice. In fact, it would be an intrusion if you tried to elbow in, so don’t even try.”

“Sounds like a good plan.”

“Even though you threw me that lovely party on my birthday–”

“Well, I was strong-armed into that.”

Leah remembered. Apparently Jaime’s daughter Pamela had pestered them both to find out when Leah’s birthday was, then demanded they have a party for her. The party was a ten-year-old girl’s idea of splendor: banners, streamers, balloons and cake. Jaime had apologized for the My Little Pony theme, but it was the best party Leah could have hoped for. As she waited for her cake to be cut, a cone-hat perched on her head with the help of an elastic band, Leah knew that she was staying on the island no matter what happened with Patricia Hood-Colby’s campaign.

Two months later, the campaign ended victoriously and Leah was left without a job on the island. It was meant to be her first campaign, and it would have been a great start to her career as a campaign manager. Not only was Patricia Hood-Colby the island’s first openly-gay female mayor, her election had ended the twenty-seven year Dugan legacy that had held the office in a stranglehold. Calls started coming in from Seattle, then New York and Tallahassee got in on the bidding. She was debating them all, excited about none, when she received a call from Mayor Hood-Colby a few weeks after the election.

“They tell me I’m going to need a Chief of Staff. It’s a small town, so whoever it is will also have to double as a Press Secretary, Speech Writer… I’m uncomfortable having people put words in my mouth. I have to trust whoever it is implicitly. I know this was just a stepping stone to a career, and I know you had no intention of settling down on Squire’s Isle. But I would hate myself if I didn’t ask.”

She had gone into the hallway so the conversation wouldn’t interrupt Pamela’s bedtime story. She looked back into the bedroom where Jaime was still stretched out in the bed next to her daughter, pointing to something in the Harry Potter book and smiling when Pamela laughed.

“Can I call you back in the morning with my answer?”

Patricia obviously hadn’t been prepared for that, but she sounded excited. “Yes! Of course, take your time. I can put it off for a week or two if you need. Wow. I never thought you’d even consider it.”

Leah moved farther down the hallway. “I came to the island to change someone’s life. I didn’t think it would be my own. Plans change, Madame Mayor.”

In the four months since, Leah had settled into her unexpected career as Patricia’s right-hand woman. It was peculiar to work closely with Tobias Collins, the opponent Patricia had named as her deputy mayor, but she appreciated having a devil’s advocate from time to time.

She realized Jaime was smiling at her and she smiled back. “What?”

“You went away from a while.” She tucked a wild hair behind Leah’s ear. “What were you thinking about?”

“You. Pamela. The gift I gave you last year for your birthday.”

Jaime smiled. “You were a gift? Think quite a lot of yourself, don’t you?”

Leah shrugged. “Well, last year Easter was two days before your birthday. We met, and that snowballed into this. You’re happy, right?”

“Let me tell you what happened on my birthday last year.” She leaned back in her seat and pulled Leah with her. “I tucked Pamela into her bed, and I asked her if she had a wonderful day. She assured me she had, and then asked if mine was splendiferous.”

Leah laughed. “I love your girl.”

“As do I.” She bit her bottom lip. “I said it was. And she said how could it have been if I didn’t get any presents. So I told her birthdays weren’t about presents, it was about reflecting on the good things you’ve been given over the past year and looking hopefully into the future. So she said that for my birthday, she wanted me to find someone like her father, but who made me happy. That’s how we explained the divorce to her… we just weren’t making each other happy, so we had to separate to find the person we were meant to be with. I told her that maybe I’d already met someone like that, and I was thinking about you at the time.”

“So this,” Leah moved a finger back and forth between them, “is the result of a little girl’s birthday wish?”

“Perhaps it’s so.”

“I like that. I really like that a lot.” She kissed Jaime and let herself linger.

Jaime whispered, “Are you happy you stayed? And don’t give a trite answer. I want you to think about it for at least thirty seconds.”

Leah smiled, but she did consider it. “My life plan was to jump from town to town working campaigns for ten months, a year at a time. No strings, no attachments, just a wandering political hit-woman. I’d live out of apartments with one-year leases and then go wherever the wind took me. Now, looking back at it, I can’t imagine what part of that life seemed appealing. I can’t imagine not coming over here and sitting in your living room, reading after dinner. It’s alarming that I was willing to live my entire life without doing this once, and now I can’t imagine going three days without it. I didn’t decide to change careers, and I didn’t decide to stay on the island. I decided to be where you are. And that’s really no decision at all.”

Jaime smiled. “Good answer.”

“I’m glad you liked it. It was your birthday present.”

Jaime laughed and slid her hands under Leah’s shirt. “Why don’t I go check to see if Pamela is truly asleep, and if she is… how about you stay here tonight?”

“I’d like that a lot.”

“Mm. Okay. I’ll be right back.” She kissed Leah again, freed herself, and walked barefoot to the back hall. She glanced back before she went into the shadows, smiling through her veil of hair, and Leah chuckled softly as she waited for the verdict on where she was spending the night.

#

Rachel kissed a V onto Alex’s chest, starting at one shoulder, dipping down to her cleavage, then back up to the other collarbone. She curled her fingers on Alex’s back and pulled her down as she collapsed back onto the mattress, her knees still bent at Alex’s hips. Her hair was ruffled by each exhale as Alex caught her breath. Eventually Rachel slid her hands down Alex’s spine and unfastened the straps of the harness without looking. Alex shifted her weight and pushed up, slipping the toy out of Rachel and then letting the straps slip down and off of her hips.

“That was fun…”

Rachel giggled uncontrollably, resting her cheek against the hollow of Alex’s shoulder. “Yep. Fun, tha-that’s how I would classify it.”

Alex sat up and brushed the hair from Rachel’s forehead. Since their reconciliation-slash-engagement, their sex life had shot into overdrive. She rolled to the side and stretched out next to Rachel, their hips and shoulders touching as they panted up at the ceiling. Alex had never considered ending the relationship, had never thought about whether or not she would be with Rachel forever. When Rachel admitted kissing someone else, and when that confession led to them living apart for over a month, she was confronted with the reality that things could change in an instant.

But now they were more committed than ever. They took some time away from each other, looked deep inside, and realized they were exactly where they were supposed to be. Now that they were “back together,” not that they’d ever really been apart, they were testing the boundaries of their relationship with all kinds of experimentation. Alex bought a new strap-on, they’d done role play, and on nights when Alex had to sleep at the fire station, they had phone sex. So far her favorite was the night they spent in the kitchen playing with textures.

“What are you thinking about?”

“Whipped cream.”

A machine-gun laugh exploded from Rachel, and she rolled onto her side. “That was so fattening.”

“But we worked it off.”

“I suppose.” She kissed Alex’s lips. “Want me to go get a snack?”

Alex put her arm around Rachel and held her close. “No. I want you right here in my arms. If you’re amenable to that.”

“Very amenable, yes.” She cuddled closer and sighed. “Oh. What time do you get off work tomorrow?”

“I’m going to be on-call from eight until around two. The fair.”

“Oh, right.” She rubbed her eyes and yawned. “We have an appointment with the counselor at six.”

“I’ll be there.” She stroked Rachel’s hair. “How do you think we’re doing with the counseling?”

Rachel smiled and circled Alex’s nipple with her thumb. “Pretty well, I’d say.”

“Good.”

“Mm.”

Alex looked back at the ceiling. “I was thinking of some other… fun things we could do.”

“I’m open to suggestions.”

“A threesome.”

Rachel inhaled sharply. “Ooh. I’ve thought about it. I’m not terribly good about sharing.”

“The orange juice in the fridge with your name on it was kind of a dead giveaway.”

Rachel chuckled. “Well, you always take so much!”

Alex grinned and kissed Rachel’s forehead. “I know, baby. I’m not sure I could share you, either. But if we’re running down a checklist of kinky things we could try, we should at least have a conversation about a threesome.”

“I agree. So… would it be with a man or a woman?”

“A man?” Alex was shocked. “You’d consider having sex with a man?”

Rachel shrugged. “It wouldn’t be making love. It would be fucking. Haven’t you ever been curious what it’s like?”

“I imagine it’s like having sex with someone wearing a strap-on, only minus the breasts.” She squeezed one of Rachel’s. “And that’s two strikes against it right off.”

“Stop it… you’re going to set me off again. So you were thinking it would be another woman. Did you have anyone in mind?”

Alex was quiet for a moment. “The woman you kissed.”

Rachel tensed. “Zoe?”

Alex nodded. “You were obviously attracted to her. And she’s attracted to you…”

“I don’t like where this is going.”

“Hold on. I’m not…” She sat up and put her hand on Rachel’s shoulder, squeezing it in a gentle massage. “I’m not being snide or catty or anything. I’m being serious. We’re obviously not just going to walk into Outskirts and pick someone out of the crowd.”

Rachel drew her knees to her chest and put her arms around them. “She’s a wonderful lady, but no. Not her. I’d have to see her every day at work afterward. But also…” She pushed her hair off her face and there was enough sweat to make it stick up. Alex gently stroked it down. “She disrespected you. And, yeah, I did too… but I agonized over what happened. She didn’t seem to care that you and I are… that we’re destined to be together. She kissed me and gave me the choice to either stay with you or leave you to be with her. I won’t invite her into our bed after that. I’m sorry–”

“Don’t be sorry. It’s how you feel.” She kissed Rachel’s arm. “We’ll find someone else, if we do it at all.”

“Okay.” She rocked to the side, resting her weight against Alex’s chest. Alex held her. “I think we have a few things in the fridge that we haven’t explored.”

“Hm. Easter chocolate…”

Rachel growled. “The possibilities.”

Alex pushed back the blankets. “I’ll go get it.”

#

Shane and Molly were the last ones at Gail’s the night before Easter. Once again the restaurant was sponsoring a lemonade stand at the island’s Easter fair, and they were making sure they had enough pre-made to sate the first-comers. Molly had gone out for a cigarette and Shane was about to go see if she’d fallen asleep when the back door swung open and shut with a quiet click.

“Hey, there you are. What did you do, empty the pack?” She brushed her hands together and turned to see Molly staring at her. She looked rough, haunted. Shane took a step closer. “You okay, babe?”

“Fine, hon.” Molly’s voice was rough, and Shane quickly became concerned. “I’ve just been thinking.”

“About what? You look like you’ve been crying.”

Molly reached up and wiped at her cheek. “No, just the wind blowing in my eyes. I’ve been thinking about something for a while. And when I think about it, I think about what your answer would be. And I back off, because I think I know what your answer would be. And I think we’ve been quiet around each other lately because you’re terrified I’m going to ask, because you know what your answer will be, too.”

Shane crossed her arms over her chest, hands clasping her opposite elbows, and she twisted to look into the darkened dining room. “Mols.”

“Sh.” She put her hands in her pockets and stepped deeper into the room. “You don’t want to marry me, do you.”

It wasn’t a question, and Shane was grateful for that. She ducked her chin and looked down at her shoes. “I never thought of you as the kind of person who wanted to get married. I mean, just because it’s legal…”

“That’s not why, Shane. Hell, marijuana is legal too and I’m not going out to get high. We’ve been together for five years. Shouldn’t it be leading to somewhere?”

“Who says it has to lead anywhere? Can’t we just live together and be happy? Why do we have to throw rings at each other, and have ceremonies, and all this bullshit? I don’t want to marry anyone, Molly.”

“But specifically not me. If I’d asked you, gotten down on my knee with a ring…”

Shane closed her eyes. “I’d have said no.”

Molly started to turn away, stopped, and ran her fingers through her curls. “Do you want to break up?”

“No.”

“So we’re just people who live together and have sex.”

“We’re people who love each other. I love you, Molly. But… I don’t want to trap you. I’m your first real girlfriend. What if you decide you want something different in a few years? What if one day you decide I’m not enough?”

“I thought about that before I made the decision. Just because I’ve never been with anyone else doesn’t mean I’m clueless. I want you, Shane. You were my best friend, and then you helped me through coming out and being happy with who I am… We’ve been good together the past five years. I just thought we’d keep being good together.”

“We can be.”

“Which is it, Shane? You want to stay together or you want to set me free to play the field? Because it sounds like you’re saying both, and I don’t know…” She growled and pressed her fists against her forehead. “If you’re saying no to marriage, then there’s no reason for us to stay together.” She laughed at herself. “And if you say yes to marriage at this point, it has no meaning. God. Nice corner I backed us into, huh?”

Shane worried her bottom lip with her teeth. “I don’t want you to ever have to question yourself. I don’t want you to ever wonder if there was someone else you were meant to be with. So I’m saying no to marriage, Molly. I’m sorry.”

Molly closed her eyes. “And us?”

“We’ll always have Gail’s.”

Molly nodded and laughed without humor. “Yeah. I guess we’ll see if we can still work together tomorrow. At the lemonade stand.”

“Shit.” Shane looked at the pitchers she’d prepared. “I guess so.”

“I’m not worried. You’re a good chef, and a good person, and I… I can be adult about it.” She crossed the kitchen and cupped Shane’s face. “You know I love you.”

“I love you, too.” She kissed Molly’s lips. “And I’m sorry.”

Molly smiled sadly. “Only be sorry if you’d said yes when you didn’t mean it. We went from friends to lovers pretty easily. Why not go back the other way?”

Shane shook her head. “Sorry, babe. It doesn’t go that way. It goes friends, to lovers, to friends with benefits.”

Molly chuckled. “So if I’m ever having a bad night?”

“You know where to find me.”

They kissed, and Molly sobbed quietly as they parted. “I should probably find somewhere else to stay tonight…”

“There’s no rush. I mean, if you want to crash on the couch until you find someplace…”

She could see Molly was considering it before she finally nodded. “Okay.”

“Okay. Want to help me get these pitchers into the fridge, babe?”

“Sure, hon.” She stroked Shane’s hair and stepped away from her. Shane wiped the moisture away from her eyes and they began moving the lemonade to the fridge. She’d anticipated a war, a screaming match that ended not only their personal relationship but their work partnership as well. As it was, the end had gone as well as she could have hoped. She did love Molly, but she couldn’t in good conscience agree to a marriage. She wasn’t ready, and she knew that deep down Molly wasn’t either.

Maybe one day they would reconnect, or maybe Molly would meet someone she was truly meant to be with. Whatever happened, Shane knew that it was for the best. For the moment, they would just have to take it a day at a time. When they were finished and the counter was clear, Shane put her hand on Molly’s shoulder, and Molly reached up to cover it with hers. They stood like that in the dark kitchen far longer than either of them expected to.

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