Squire’s Isle Created by Geonn Cannon

The Warren Peace

Summary

Amy, Kate, and Nicole – the Warrens – spend an uneventful day and a slightly more eventful night together.

by Rita Fei

Amy left her office just as a pan of fresh cookies came out of the oven. She paused to inhale the sweet aroma, helped Nell transfer them to a tray, and carried them out into the wilds of the main room. Customers were lined up along the other side of the glass to examine the offerings available. She recognized most of them by sight even if she didn’t know their names and they greeted her as she added the new batch to the shelf.

“Just out of the oven,” she announced. “Get ‘em while they’re hot!”

Howie was on the register, while Lindsay and April were filling orders. There was no such thing as a slow period at Coffee Table Books. The morning rush blended with people on their way to work, after school was always a popular time, and they received new floods of customers coming in off the ferry throughout the day. Two o’clock was usually a good time to catch her breath, though, so she was surprised by how busy they were.

“Everything going smoothly?” she asked Lindsay.

“I was about to ask Nell for some more apple popovers.”

“I saw her working on them. They should be out soon.” She looked toward the back booth. The last time she’d left her office, Kate was there with her laptop typing up a story. Now it was occupied by Shireen Essa and someone Amy didn’t recognize. “Did you see where Kate went?”

Lindsay said, “I saw her go back into the shelves.”

Amy patted Lindsay on the arm as she slipped past her. The shelves, the bane of Amy’s existence since she inherited the shop, had slowly started shaping up in the past few months. She wanted to throw out the books, but her brother convinced her to just give them away to customers. To her surprise, the customers started bringing in new books to replace what they’d taken. By the time it became a trend she couldn’t have stopped it even if she tried. So she just became the coffee shop with a free “Take One, Leave One” library in the back.

She never bothered to organize anything in the hopes one day it would all be gone and she could clear out the space for more tables. Over the years she grew to love the clutter and, though she would hesitate to admit it to anyone out loud, she would be sad if it did go away. It took her a while to notice, therefore, that the shelves were starting to have some semblance of order. Stacks were straightened. Sections were roughly alphabetized. The staff was in charge of making sure the shelves didn’t get too dusty, but none of them accepted blame for playing librarian.

It took her a few months before she realized Kate was the culprit. Kate, who couldn’t keep her bedroom tidy to save her life. Kate, who knew it was time to do laundry when she couldn’t see the floor through the layer of discarded clothes. She would spend fifteen minutes to half an hour going through the shelves and idly rearranging things. She straightened a stack here. She lined up two Stephen King books next to a third.

When Amy confronted her about it, she said, “Books are different. Books need some kind of structure.”

“If you say so, slob,” Amy teased.

She found Kate at the back wall, leaning against the last shelf. She was flipping through a paperback, her hair tucked behind her ear with one black wing hanging down to shield her face. Amy paused unnoticed at the other side of the aisle so she could watch her lover in an unguarded moment. Kate was wearing a white V-neck shirt under an olive green army jacket. Amy recognize the jacket as Nicole’s and she smiled. One elbow was pressed against the shelf, her hip cocked casually so she could rest one sneaker on top of the other. The messenger bag with her laptop and notebooks was slumped against the wall behind her.

Kate finally noticed she was being watched and looked up. She smiled and closed the book on her thumb, standing up straighter.

“Well, hey there.”

“Hi. Looking for the dirty parts?”

Kate turned and put the book back on the shelf. “It’s not the same if there aren’t pictures.”

Amy approached and fussed with the collar of the jacket. “Wearing Nicole’s jacket, while haunting my store? It’s like you’re nesting in the two of us.”

Kate grinned. “That’s a nice idea.” She put her hands on Amy’s waist. “A ferry just came in, so I thought I would free up the booth for some potential paying customers.”

“How considerate of you.” She tilted her head and Kate read the invitation perfectly. She leaned in and kissed Amy, gently at first but then with increased passion. Amy made a quiet noise in her throat. Kate moved them both so Amy was against the shelf, and Amy put her hands in Kate’s hair. She let the kiss continue for a few seconds longer before she turned her head to move her lips along Kate’s cheek. “I’m at work, babe.”

“I know. I’ll be quiet.”

Amy laughed and tugged playfully on Kate’s hair. Kate tilted her head up and Amy kissed her neck, nibbling just above the collar of her borrowed jacket. This close, she could smell a hint of the cologne Nicole wore. It was so masculine, but not enough to be a turn-off. And smelling Nicole’s scent on Kate was almost too much for her. She nipped Kate’s earlobe and peeled herself away from her.

“I’ll regret it. And I don’t want to regret anything I do with you.”

Kate sighed. “Can’t fault that logic. But tonight…? We’ll make a whole night of it, just the three of us.”

“Now that sounds ideal.”

“Besides, I don’t have time. I need to get back to the office so they don’t give away my desk.”

“If you must.” Amy kissed Kate again and smoothed her hand down the front of her jacket. “Does she know you stole this?”

“She told me to take it this morning. We spent some time together after you left.”

Amy arched an eyebrow. “Sorry I missed that.”

“Yeah, so were we. But we’ll make up for it tonight.” She turned and bent down to retrieve her messenger bag.

“It’s a date.” She couldn’t resist the invitation and swatted Kate’s rear end.

Kate yelped. “Hair-pulling, spanking. You’re a firecracker today.”

Amy wagged her eyebrows and followed Kate out of the shelves. The crowd had thinned out, but Amy knew the kitchen crew would need some help restocking their supply. She told Howie to go lend a hand, wrapped an apron around her waist, and took over at the cash register. Kate waved on her way out the door and Amy blew her a kiss before focusing on the next order.

 

#

 

“The difficult thing about being eco-friendly,” Nadine said as she settled behind the wheel of Nicole’s car, “is that you can’t really use them for road trips.”

Nicole smiled and fastened her seatbelt. “It’s probably not too good for groceries, either.”

“I have a basket for groceries. And usually Miranda’s car is fine if we need to haul things. But I don’t like asking her to be without a car the entire time I’m gone.”

“It’s perfectly fine,” Nicole said. “I’m happy to help. Kate and Amy both have cars, so it’s not like I’m going to be completely helpless.”

Nadine said, “I still really appreciate this.”

“Sure thing. Whatever you need.”

Nadine was taking her mother to Seattle for three days to meet up with her formerly-estranged sister. They had reunited online, old grudges were buried, and Nadine’s aunt mentioned coming to Seattle on vacation. She said it would be wonderful if they could spend some time together. Nadine was willing to be their chauffeur, but she didn’t have a car. Nicole, who worked with Nadine’s mother at Butler Photography, overheard their conversation and volunteered her keys. So Nadine had come by when her shift at the radio station ended and, after dropping Nicole off at home, would take the car for the rest of the weekend.

“And don’t worry about your car. I’m an excellent driver. Miranda has me drive hers often enough that I’m not too rusty.”

“I’m not worried. But if you scratch my baby, I will have to take it out of your hide.”

Nadine chuckled. “Duly noted.”

Nicole found it odd to be a passenger in her own car. It was just barely a mile from work to home and, if necessary, she could have walked. Letting Nadine drive her was a way to officially pass the torch. And, she admitted with a little shame, making sure the car knew she wasn’t giving it away forever. She got very attached to her vehicles, given how many years she’d practically lived out of trunks and backseats. She liked to pretend the relationship was mutual.

Nadine dropped her off with another promise to take good care of the car while she was away. Nicole wished her a safe and fun trip, then headed inside. The house was quiet, still, and cold. Kate was probably at work or writing at Coffee Table Books, and Amy would stay there until at least five. Nicole took off her shoes in the entryway and went upstairs to change out of her work clothes.

She came back down in sweats and an old T-shirt, carrying the bag with photos she’d taken the past weekend. She loved working at the shop more than she ever anticipated, but it really did eat into the time she had to work on her own photography. Even though the back windows faced east, there was enough sun shining onto the dinner table for her to set up there. She paused before she started work and looked out the window, enjoying the view and the silence.

Part of the reason she rebelled against relationships for so long was the neediness. She always felt like she had to be there for her girlfriend, to provide comfort and a sympathetic ear. She preferred solitude and being alone with her thoughts. She didn’t feel guilty about neglecting Amy or Kate because they had each other. And if they needed her, they knew where to find her. And if she ever needed to talk about something, she could go to either of them and get their support.

Nicole smiled as she laid out her photos. The woman who once said she would never be tied down to a single woman had kept her promise. But now she had two partners. And even though she didn’t feel obligated to make herself available to them every hour of every day, she was always willing to listen if they needed her. By avoiding commitment to one person, she’d ended up being committed to two people. As it turned out, it wasn’t so bad.

Kate came home just before five and greeted her with a kiss before going upstairs. Amy showed up a half hour later smelling of cookies and cinnamon. Nicole motioned her over.

“Could you take a look at these?” Amy leaned over Nicole’s shoulder. Nicole held up two photos. “This one or this one?”

Amy examined both options. “Is this part supposed to be out of focus?”

“Yes.”

“Then that one.” She kissed the side of Nicole’s head. “Where’s our girl?”

Nicole marked the chosen photo. “Showering. You smell like cookies.”

“Thank you.”

Amy went into the kitchen to begin cooking dinner. Kate came downstairs in a dress shirt and seemingly nothing else. Nicole watched carefully as she crossed the room and noted she was wearing a pair of black panties underneath, which somehow made the not-quite-an-outfit even sexier. She sat at the table and Nicole passed her the pictures she’d already approved.

“Are these for the paper?” Kate asked as she went through them.

“If you want them.”

Kate nodded.

They talked about their respective days loud enough that Amy could hear in the kitchen. When the food was ready, Kate helped her serve while Nicole moved her work things off the table. Amy sat down and shared her work stories while they ate. After dinner Kate volunteered to wash the dishes and sent Nicole and Amy into the living room to watch TV. Nicole settled in with her head on Amy’s shoulder, legs curled underneath her. Amy put an arm around Nicole and played with her hair as they watched TV.

Kate finished with the dishes and went to join them. “You know, Nikki,” she said, “Amy and I almost had an encounter in the bookshelves at work today.”

Nicole, whose eyelids had been drifting, was suddenly alert. “Oh? Do tell.”

Kate stood in front of them. She straddled Amy’s left leg and reached out for Nicole with her right hand. She and Amy petting Nicole’s hair together, then linked their fingers together. Nicole purred and shifted her position so she could sit up. Amy turned toward her and their lips met. Kate stroked the back of Amy’s hand in the nest of Nicole’s hair as she watched them kiss. She bent her knees and settled on Amy’s leg. Amy reached out and put her free hand in the small of Kate’s back. Kate bent down to kiss the top of Amy’s head. Nicole broke the kiss and tilted her chin up, and Kate kissed her as well.

Amy took the opportunity to kiss the hollow of Nicole’s throat. She ran her tongue up to nibble on her earlobe. Nicole whimpered her approval into Kate’s mouth and took her hand from the front of Kate’s blouse and rest it on Amy’s lap. She extended her first two fingers and squirmed her hand between Amy’s legs. Amy shifted to accommodate her.

“Katie…?”

“I’m fine,” Kate assured her, biting at Nicole’s bottom lip. She tightened her thighs around Amy’s leg and scooted forward. Her leg pinned Nicole’s hand between Amy’s legs; Amy and Nicole both moaned in response to that. Amy pulled up the tail of Kate’s shirt and spread her fingers over the curve of her ass. Kate arched her back and Nicole’s hand began exploring her as well. Kate turned her head and Amy whispered her name again, summoning her, and Kate replied with a kiss. Nicole kissed Kate’s cheek, and Kate could feel her hair brushing against her cheek as she did the same to Amy. A shudder ran through her as she once again realized how lucky she was to be with these two amazing women, and she pulled back so she could watch them kiss again.

“God, you two are so beautiful,” she whispered.

Amy looked at Kate. “Let’s go upstairs.”

Kate kissed them both again before she rose up off Amy’s leg. Amy had the foresight to turn off the TV as Kate and Nicole headed for the stairs. She followed them, smiling at the way they held hands on their way up the stairs, and moved faster so she could wrap her arms around them from behind when they reached the landing.

“My room,” she instructed, as if there was any doubt. When they were all together, Amy’s bed made the most sense. It had the biggest bed, and she kept the majority of their toys in her nightstand. Kate and Nicole separated when they crossed the threshold. Kate went for the lamp while Nicole moved to undress at the foot of the bed. Amy grabbed Nicole around the waist while she was still in her bra and pants, tackling her onto the mattress with a loud cackle. Kate shed her dress shirt and slipped her panties off before she joined them.

She sat on her legs to one side of them, near the pillows, as Amy and Nicole kissed. She assisted them in removing clothes, tossing each item away as it was freed from arms or legs. When they moved into the house she decided she would never get used to how it felt to see Amy, a woman she thought she would love for the rest of her life, making love to someone else. She’d always, always, always been the jealous type. But now she almost preferred watching them. It was because she had fallen so hard for Nicole, a love that surprised her in its ferocity.

Amy looked up at her, lips parted from the kiss she’d just shared with Nicole, and she smiled. Kate cupped Amy’s cheek and brushed her thumb over Amy’s bottom lip. Amy turned her head and captured it, sucking gently as Nicole kissed down her body. Amy rolled onto her back and let her legs fall apart, her breasts rising and falling rapidly as Nicole repositioned herself.

“C’mere,” Amy said, “c’mere, Katie.”

Kate walked on her knees until she could straddle Amy’s head facing down toward Nicole. They found a comfortable position where Amy wasn’t being crushed, and Kate gasped at the first touch of Amy’s tongue. She leaned forward to place one hand on Amy’s stomach as the other smoothed down Nicole’s hair. Nicole was now between Amy’s legs, and Amy was lifting her hips to meet each stroke of a tongue Kate knew to be extremely gifted at this particular thing. Amy had one hand up by her face to help out her tongue, while her other hand was linked with Nicole’s.

I’ll never stop thinking this is strange, Kate admitted to herself for what had to be the two-hundredth time. But that just means I’ll never take for granted how special it is.

“I love you,” she said loud enough for both of them to hear. There was no reason to specify which one she was speaking to; it applied to both and she knew it was reciprocated. She closed her eyes and dragged her fingers up until she reached the swell of Amy’s breasts. She moved her hips against Amy’s tongue and rolled her hips to the rhythm Amy had set.

She closed her eyes and listened to them, she felt them, one hand on Amy and the other on Nicole. Nicole reached up and put a hand on Kate’s upper thigh, sliding it higher to where it curved into her hip. The bed creaked noisily underneath them. It wasn’t a threatening sound, not a warning the bed was about to break, it was just a soundtrack to how passionate they were. Kate rolled her head back and focused on her pleasure. When she came, when she was satisfied, she would take the time to focus on her lovers. She couldn’t wait, but she also wasn’t going to rush things.

They had all night.

 

#

 

Amy woke when Nicole rolled away from her. She lifted her head off the pillow and looked at the moonlight cutting a square of blue-white across Nicole’s chest. She couldn’t fully enjoy the sight because they were alone in bed. She looked toward the bathroom and, confirming it was empty, slipped out of bed. According to the clock, she had to be up in thirty minutes for work, so she might as well give in. First, though, she needed to locate her missing partner. She checked to make sure she hadn’t woken Nicole before she grabbed a shirt from the hamper. She squirmed into it on her way downstairs.

The kitchen light was on. Kate, once again in her button-down shirt, was busy making sandwiches. She had the bread lined up, enough for six sandwiches, and was currently applying mayonnaise to each one.

“Hey. Wake up with a craving?”

Kate smiled. “I had a nightmare. Didn’t want to risk going back to sleep, so I thought I would make everyone lunches.”

Amy lifted Kate’s hair to kiss her neck. “Sweet girl. Thank you.” She took up station next to Kate and began applying meat and cheese to each piece of bread. “So… a nightmare or the nightmare?”

Kate’s knife hesitated. “The nightmare.”

“I’m sorry, baby.”

“Yeah.”

The nightmare had been recurring for close to a year, or at least that was how long it had been since Kate admitted it to them. It was quick and repetitive: Kate dreamed that she died, that she was murdered, that she’d bled to death somewhere horrible, leaving Amy and Nicole together as a “normal” couple. She experienced the dream as an outside observer. She lurked in the shadows like a ghost. Her dream intuition told her they mourned her appropriately but all the scenes she witnessed were full of domestic bliss. They were happy. They were a pair, a couple, a duo.

Amy put her hand on Kate’s shoulder and turned her so they were facing each other. “You know that’s just a dream, right?”

“Of course. And if the worst does happen, I hope you and Nicole really are happy together. I’d hate to think you two would break up just because I’m not around anymore. That doesn’t mean I want to see it with my own eyes. And if it’s metaphorical and the two of you just decide to… cut me out.” She looked down at the knife. “You were with her first.”

Amy cupped Kate’s face and forced her to look up. “Yeah, and I broke up with her. Kate, you have to know I would never cut you out to be with her. And Nicole would never do that to you, just like you would never do it to either of us. When I dumped Nicole, it was because I needed something extra to make it work. When I brought her into our bed, it was because I wanted something extra. Things have changed a lot since we became who we are now. Nicole has grown into someone I’m honored to call our partner. But if you ever think you’re unnecessary…”

“I know, Ames. I know.” She kissed Amy’s lips and put the knife down to embrace her. “It’s just this… thing. I don’t even know what to call it.”

“Threelationship,” Amy said against Kate’s shoulder.

“I told you, I’m not calling it that.” She smiled and smelled Amy’s hair. “I never expected to fall in love so completely with two people. Sometimes my subconscious rebels against the idea. It tries to tell me I don’t deserve either of you. It tells me I’m greedy.”

“Well–”

“I’m not finished.” She stepped back. “But then you or Nick comes along and reassures me just by being here. By showing me you love me. That’s why I’m not too concerned about what the nightmare really means. Because in the end, it doesn’t matter. I know where I stand with both of you.”

They kissed again before going back to the sandwiches. Amy went to the cupboard to see what kind of snacks they could add – she decided on yogurt – as Kate wrapped everything up.

“Katie? Ames?” Nicole was at the head of the stairs. “You two down there?”

“We’re in the kitchen,” Kate said.

Nicole said, “Are you coming back to bed?”

Amy called up, “I have to get up to get ready for work in about twenty minutes. It’s not worth trying to go back to sleep.”

“I didn’t invite you back up to sleep.”

Kate smiled and sucked some excess mayo off her thumb. She winked at Amy, took her hand, and led her back upstairs where their partner was waiting.

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